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Editorial: Now Is The Moment For Freeport

NEVER has the saying “it is now or never” felt more urgent than in the case of Freeport.

Worn down by years of unrealised potential, bludgeoned by Hurricane Dorian and paralysed by COVID-19, it is a place troubled by unemployment, with a population that has seen family members move to Nassau in search of a brighter future.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

A committee of 20 people quietly came together six months ago to take matters into their own hands.

Build on our strengths, that’s the plan. Because Freeport does have strengths – it just needs the opportunity to realise them.

Around the world, there are places that would envy Freeport’s model for the potential it offers.

The committee has looked at how to do that – building on the container port, shipyard and harbour to become “the Maritime Centre for the Americas”.

That would see improved use of marine resources, reforms in immigration, tourism, and that old bugbear of The Bahamas - the ease of doing business. Indeed, the committee wants to turn a negative into a positive and turn the island’s experience with hurricanes into a magnet to attract industries focused on climate change, weather and disasters.

The best thing about these proposals is that they come from the community rather than being imposed from above by government. Like it or not, we have seen too many times when reforms introduced by one government get tossed out by the next. Having the proposals come from Freeport means it’s not a matter of being able to claim political victories or score points.

The owners of the Grand Bahama Port Authority are behind it. Members of the community are behind it. Both major political parties have expressed support.

“I think describing it as a ‘now or never opportunity’ is a good way of putting it,” said the committee’s head, Robert Adams, who says that the revitalisation of the second city could revive The Bahamas as a whole.

Now or never. We’d best make it now. Never isn’t an option.

Vaughn who?

Vaughn Miller MP has joined the PLP. You will not be alone in saying “Who?” when you hear this news.

His time with the FNM will largely be remembered for voting against the increase in Value Added Tax then being fired from his post as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Social Services as a result. He said after that firing that he would not quit the FNM, dismissing claims he would quit to become independent or join the PLP. He subsequently quit the FNM and yesterday joined the PLP.

At times, he spoke up about the disconnect between the Minnis administration and Bahamians, although the FNM area association chairman later said Mr Miller had been absent both physically and “mentally” long before he resigned from the FNM.

Having taken to choppy waters as an independent, it now looks as if Mr Miller is leaping from the lifeboat back on to the Titanic. He joins a PLP party listless in direction and hoping to capitalise on the FNM’s handling of COVID-19.

We’re not sure what he will bring to the PLP. It’s hard to say he brought much to the FNM.

Comments

birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Who has brought much to the FNM.?? At least Mr: Miller had the integrity to stand firm. when it came to VAT, unlike the Leader PM Minnis who spoke so badly about VAT voted against it. then the first chance he got increased it by 60%.

A hypocrite of the highest order is doc. The FNM was going to introduce VAT at 15% . God forbid should they win again 15% VAT will be introduced.

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birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Robert Adamas is the head who are the others? inquiring minds want to know.

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The_Oracle 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Freeport has never suffered from a lack of potential, it has suffered from a lack of Leadership coupled with Political misfeasance. Anyone or any committee can plainly see what is wrong: but it falls upon the same lack of leadership to implement. As always, they could screw up a profitable fruit stand. No, what I see here is another lip service Committee, recommendations from which will come to naught. Further, the 5 on the committee from the Port companies are impotent in their legitimate jobs, how will they do any different in their self appointments to the committee? Who from the private sector on that committee can action anything?

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Trying to increase the Chinese owned Container Port? Uhm. I smell a rat. Hope he don't end up in my take-out.

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 4 days ago

As for Vaughn being virtually unheard of - most MPs are unheard of. They go into a cave for 5 years (in Ragged Island? LOL) and wait for re-election time to show up with chicken and beer aplenty. You only hear of a few from time to time like the goat & bird man, and you be grateful to yourself that you don't own a farm cause your goat might have gotten killed from a similarly unheard of oil spill.

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