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Nassau, Bahamas - The Bahamas
Society of Engineers held its inaugural Engineering, Design and
Construction Conference at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort on Friday,
Among those in attendance was the Hon. Phenton Neymour, Minister of
State in the Ministry of the Environment. The theme for the one-day
conference was "Building A Better Future..."
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Each year The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation offers The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award at the Annual Heart Ball. This award has been presented since 1968. The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award was initiated by The Heart Foundation to applaud and give recognition to individuals who have selflessly given of themselves to promote human welfare and dignity, thus making life better for their fellow man.
At the 2012 Heart Ball Ms. Marjorie Davis received The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award. She is known for her work as an educator, and Girl Guides leader. She joined the ranks of noble giants such as Lady Camille Barnett, Mr. Lowell Mortimer, Ms. Mary Profilo and Dr. Donald Gerace. These persons were all chosen from a pool of worthy candidates, to be the winners of this award.
As the deadline for the award fast approaches, interested persons are invited to nominate an individual, to be accompanied by a letter or statement explaining why the person recommended should receive the award. Nominations are to be submitted to:
The Golden Heart Award Committee
P. O. Box N-8189
Nassau, The Bahamas
Alternatively, submissions can be hand delivered to Grosham Property, Cable Beach. This is the office site for The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation.
A man accused of a home-invasion robbery in 2010 is back in prison charged with another hold-up.
Prosecutors allege that 56-year-old Jeffrey Wilson, and Laron Grant, 19, robbed a Chinese couple at gunpoint of a deposit bag containing $12,500 outside the Cable Beach branch of Scotiabank on August 20.
Wilson, whose street name is 'Capone', was on bail in connection to the robbery of a family at Coral Harbour in February 2010.
Wilson, of Thurston's Close, Oakes Field, and Grant, of Malcolm Road, are accused of making off with the money that belonged to a Chinese restaurant.
The men are also accused of robbing another person of a purse that contained Chinese currency, $500 cash, a bank card and a driver's license.
Police allege the men fled the scene in a white Honda Accord. The car, a white 2008 Honda Accord, belongs to Donell Ferguson.
Wilson and Grant are accused of stealing the vehicle, which was recovered following their arrest, on August 16.
The men were not required to plead to the armed robbery charges, but they denied the car theft allegation at an arraignment before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez yesterday.
They have been remanded to prison.
Nassau, Bahamas - Enclosed is Remarks by Attorney General at the Crisis Center Peace Conference
at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach, Nassau on 20th Sept
When I think about
peace, I think of that popular song, "Let there be peace on earth and let it
begin with me, let there be peace on earth the way that it was meant to be, with
God as our father, brothers all are we, let me walk with my brother in perfect
harmony". That is exactly your theme, Peace at Home (let it begin with
me) and let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony (peace in our
community). Sy Miller and Jill Jackson were a husband and wife songwriting team. In
1955 they wrote this song about their dream of peace for the world and how they
believed each one of us could help create it
Cable Bahamas customers in western New Providence had their internet and cable television services interrupted for several hours yesterday, after an excavation crew at the Baha Mar site unintentionally cut several fiber optic lines.
Cable Bahamas officials said the incident occurred on the Cable Beach strip around 4 p.m.
The severed line provided service to most neighborhoods west of the Sheraton resort in Cable Beach up to Sea Beach estates.
Delaporte, Sandyport, Westridge and Caves Village were also among the areas where service was lost, according to Cable Bahamas officials.
The company said the lines should have been repaired and service restored, sometime after midnight.
A summer of record heat has led to extreme challenges for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) which once again shut down power to thousands of residences and businesses yesterday, as the demand for electricity simply could not be met.BEC blamed yesterday's rolling blackouts - the latest in a series of load shedding exercises - on another failed generator. This was the third generator to go offline this week.The generator has not been properly maintained due to the corporation's strained financial situation, said BEC in a statement. The corporation staggered yesterday's blackouts in two-hour intervals, impacting different areas of New Providence.BEC said between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. it would shut down power to customers in Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Hills, Charlottesville, Jacaranda, Blake Road, Sea Beach, Caves Village, Sandyport and Soldier Road between Abundant Life Road and Balliou Hill Road.BEC expected to cut electricity supply to customers in Tyler Street, Nassau Street, West Bay Street (between Xavier's Primary School and Vista Marina), Augusta Street, Deans Lane, Meeting Street, Balliou Hill Road South, College Drive, Boyd Road and all side streets between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.BEC expected that between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. it would shut down supply to customers in Westward Villas, the Cable Beach strip, Lake Cunningham subdivision, Skyline Drive, Sanford Drive, Stapledon Gardens, Sea View Drive, West Bay Street, and John F. Kennedy Drive.Between 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. customers in Bamboo Boulevard, Pinewood Gardens, and South Beach were expected to have no electricity."Once again, the corporation apologizes to its customers and will continue to provide updates on the status of its generation challenges," BEC said in its statement.There have been rolling blackouts in New Providence since Monday when two of BEC's generators at its Clifton Pier plant failed.
One of those generators has since been brought back online. BEC said it has identified the problem with the second generator.
"The need for parts and extensive repairs means that the generator may be out of service for several days," said BEC.The corporation said the third failed generator is expected back online today. That generator is also located at the Clifton Pier plant.
"During this time, the corporation will continue to utilize the Generation Assistance Plan (GAP), relying on customers with large capacity standby units [capable of producing more than 1,000 kilowatts] freeing up capacity for other customers," BEC said. "Additionally, BEC is preparing to install the 20 megawatts of rental units. These units are expected to be operable by mid-month."BEC said with the GAP and the installation of the rental units, it would be able to limit the impact of any future generation problem on its customers.
Nassau, Bahamas - Prime
Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham welcomes executives of the Royal
Bank of Canada during a Courtesy Call at the Office of the Prime
Minister, Cable Beach, on Monday, November 22.
Pictured from left to
right are: Ross McDonald, Nathaniel Beneby, Prime Minister Ingraham,
Suresh Sookoo and David Hockett...
Five real estate companies have been selected by Baha Mar to market its 307 elite residences to local and international clients.
Following a workshop with the property firms, the up-and-coming mega resort has officially launched residential sales here in Nassau, with prices starting at $1.5 million. According to multiple property sources, Baha Mar has sold approximately 50 of the residences since executives unveiled the product in June during an exclusive London soiree.
Damianos Sotheby's International Realty, H.G. Christie Ltd., Mario Carey Real Estate, Cross & Mosko Real Estate and Development Company and ERA Dupuch Real Estate will now bring their resources to bear in the sales push.
"It's an exciting product," said George Damianos, president of Damianos Sotheby's International Realty.
"I believe the market will definitely respond. The fact you actually own it and there are no condo fees and user fees is quite attractive, and you also get a chance to get points if you don't want to use it, for other hotels. It offers a good return on your investment."
The top property firm, routinely dealing in multi-million-dollar transactions, is rolling out a specific marketing campaign to reach clients. Damianos said his agents were "inspired and excited" by the workshops put on by Baha Mar last week.
Richard English, vice president of residential sales at Baha Mar, said initial interest has exceeded expectations.
Baha Mar's Senior Vice-president of Administration and External Affairs Robert "Sandy" Sands, said sales thus far have been "all over the map". He reported strong interest from the Middle East, the Far East and the UK in particular. And now that the focus has shifted to local realtors, the mega resort hopes to continue that momentum.
"The Bahamas has a tremendous amount of high-net-worth individuals who come to this jurisdiction. So it's important that the project is represented locally," Sands added.
Damianos said the lion's share of sales will not come from Bahamians, but rather international investors in the region.
The offerings include a $1.5 million junior one-bedroom unit, running up to a $6 million four-bedroom villa on the beach. Executives at the 1,000-acre, $3.5 billion development have launched the Baha Mar Collection to further entice international investors and add value to the residences.
As the owner of the property, investors have the option of using the units all year round, renting, or collecting points towards hotel and vacation experiences around the world.
Partners now working with Baha Mar include the Fairmont in Mecca, the Mandarin in Hong Kong and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
During last week's session, local realtors enlisted to sell the elite properties were introduced to a Baha Mar sales iPad app, which allows them to tailor their pitch using the popular technology.
Baha Mar, set to open in 2014, includes 2,200 new rooms within five well-known hotel brands, including Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, Mondrian, a Morgan's Hotel Group property, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and a casino hotel yet to be announced.
The latter is slated to become the largest casino in the Caribbean. A 200,000-square-foot convention center, 200,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, an eco-water park, 3,000 feet of beach front and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course round out the list of features and amenities for the Cable Beach resort.
Straw vendors in the Nassau Straw Market on Bay Street are upset about new rules governing how they display their merchandise in the market, with some vendors claiming it is unfair.
According to the vendors, compliance officers from the Straw Market Authority met with them early yesterday morning, outlining that they must break down the extensions on the top of their stalls and remove merchandise from the bottom of their stalls.
Vendors said that the stalls alone do not offer enough space to display their wares, and items stored inside the booths do not sell.
"In my entire life I have never experienced [this]," said Wendy Nixon, who has been a vendor in the market for nearly 30 years.
"We always had some type of rules, but never like this. This is bringing us back to when Moses went to Pharaoh and asked to let his people go. Pharaoh didn't comply. These officers are worse than Pharaoh.
She continued, "We know if we came out of Egypt, should we be back in Egypt or [in] the Promised Land?
"They have a problem that they don't want us to be able to display our work in a neat fashion. We have to display our work in a way that the tourists can see and be able to buy."
Cheryl Brenan, a vendor for over 20 years said, "I would like to know why they keep on telling us that we must only display one of this and one of that in the shop. How do they expect us to make the money to pay the rent?"
Chairman of the Straw Market Authority Ron Pinder said he was surprised vendors went to the press with their concerns.
"I am really taken aback that they would have taken that approach, after I extended open doors [to them]," said Pinder yesterday.
"[I] met with them, met with the leaders and anytime they have any questions when I am passing throughout the market they would stop me and talk to me."
Pinder said he would not comment further and would bring the issue up during the authority's first board meeting, which was to be held yesterday evening.
Wendy Lightbourne, a straw vendor for over 30 years, said she won't comply with the rule.
"I have a medical issue [and] my shop has to be here to help me pay my bills," she said. "I don't think we need to move the [extensions] because we need space to display our work in this market."
Lightbourne noted that many of the vendors are upset and ready to fight as their livelihood is at stake.
Nixon said she wants to talk directly with the prime minister.
"We need to call on [Prime Minister] Perry Gladstone Christie... to come and see about our business because it is much too long now, May 7 has passed and we haven't heard anything from them," she said. "We only see puppets walking about. Since Perry Christie holds the puppet strings we need to hear from him. We need to hear from [Deputy Prime Minister Philip] Brave Davis. We need to hear from the persons that we elected to come into this market and stop oppressing us."
Vendors subsequently marched in the market, chanting "we will not be moved".
They also complained about the lack of fans or an air-conditioning unit in the market.
The $12 million market officially opened last December, more than 10 years after the old market was destroyed by fire.
There are 497 vendors in the Bay Street market and 103 in the Cable Beach market.
I refer to the circulation and publication of the article by Pierre Dupuch entitled, "Cable Beach Is Being Destroyed".
I read it in the newspaper the other day. Has there been any evidence of anyone in the government or the opposition listening? The more important question is has the Bahamian public been listening? How do you get more of an outcry?
Are the claims really true? Does the average Bahamian really understand the impact? Do they really care? Maybe something needs to be circulated that clearly states how this is going to affect Joe Blow - that is, the masses of the people on a personal level.
Sad to say, very few people in this country care about anything unless it affects them (mainly their pocketbooks) not just personally, but here and now.
I suspect that the government has no intention of revoking anything or doing anything that has been recommended.
My gut feeling is that it will not take the 38 members of the House of Assembly or our government officials to get this done. It's going to take the 350,000 of us who are left.
I could be dead wrong, but I submit to you today Mr. Dupuch that this will not stop until thousands of Bahamians come together and form a human chain, refusing to allow the work to continue.
I submit to you Bahamas, that if the work continues and if the beach is destroyed, it is not the fault of the government. It is the fault of the 350,000 of us who sat back and allowed it.
What I am saying is, if and when it happens, don't blame the Free National Movement, the Progressive Liberal Party, or the Democratic National Alliance. Blame the Bahamian people. We have the power.
It's just up to us to use it. Maybe not enough of us care.
- Lorraine Gibson
After years of being displaced, local golfers will finally have a place they can call home.
Although the negotiation process is still ongoing, President of the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) James Gomez said it is looking up. He is encouraging local golfers to brush the cobwebs off their golf clubs and return to the greens.
"We have negotiated a lease with the owners of the South Ocean property, the golf course," said Gomez. "The lease itself has not been signed nor has the service agreement, which allows us to begin work prior to the commencement of the lease. But I am confident everything will work in our favor.
"I was in a meeting with the minister of sports who gave assurances that the government will give some support to the federation to secure our position with the leasing of the property. We are moving in the right direction. A number of members have already contributed to assist with the reconditioning of the golf course. We are looking at a positive outcome and the only thing that can stop us right now is the owners. If they are not comfortable with some of the things that we have forwarded to them that will hold us up a bit. But whatever it is, our job is to try and make it work."
The Cable Beach Golf course was the temporary home for the federation. Since closure, local golfers played at the Ocean Club Golf course. As a result, a major decline has been seen especially in New Providence, revealed Gomez.
The president also noted that the BGF's Driving Range is heavily used by local golfers who are not in the financial position to play on a consistent basis over at the Ocean Club Golf course, located on Paradise Island.
Leasing the South Ocean golf course is an expensive venture which has an estimated cost of $300,000. But Gomez is confident that the federation can allocate the funds for a much needed initiative.
Gomez added: "At this particular time we are having difficulties accessing courses. That means that our players, when we go to championships we are not that competitive because they don't play enough competitive rounds and tournaments on an annual basis. Because of that problem our performance in the regional championships is generally subpar. We are looking to improve upon that.
"We are still in the discussion phase. There are a number of companies who have offered assistance, in the form of equipment or otherwise to assist with the reconditioning of the golf course. That is positive. If we are able to get started in the next two weeks or so, the intent is to then branch out, in terms of sponsorship with corporate houses who may be so inclined to sponsor a hole. If they do their company's name will be attached to that hole. At the end of the day the benefit of this golf course is going to be for the entire Bahamas."
According to Gomez, the course will cater to all persons in the western district of the island. He said it will be accessible and affordable to all, not only Bahamians, but visitors that stay along the Cable Beach strip. He believes that the course can be an option for tourist until Baha Mar opens.
Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?
Sonia: I had the privilege of working for the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island from 2002-2005. It was a breakthrough opportunity for me after serving seven years at the Ministry of Works as a design engineer and project manager. In the role at Atlantis I drew on my project management skills, as I had responsibility for executing an annual multi-million dollar capital budget for all the senior vice presidents of the company who were at the time my internal customers. Unlike in the public sector I was given a lot of autonomy to run the projects department. I, of course, closely coordinated with the heads of the facilities division but felt empowered, and I was expected to succeed.
I currently own and operate a full service mechanical and electrical engineering consultancy and, as it turns out, my major project is the Baha Mar Development resort being undertaken on Cable Beach. Graphite Engineering Ltd. has been selected as the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers of Record for this project.
GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
Sonia: I did not choose tourism specifically as a career, but as a consequence of what was available in the economy. An opportunity in tourism presented itself and I was pleased to embrace it. Bahamian engineers continue to be under represented in major tourism projects at the level of design and onwards. This will only change if we continue to build capacity and, when given an opportunity, we provide stellar service.
GB: What has been your most memorable moment?
Sonia: My team was given the opportunity to oversee the renovation of the Crown Ballroom. By dollar value it was the largest project given to our department. It was not a technically challenging assignment but we had a very short time frame to deliver the project, and we were able to get it done.
GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Sonia: As it specifically refers to the engineering services in hotels, there have been a myriad of changes because the mechanical and electrical systems that support these buildings, keeping them lit and cool, continue to be more sophisticated.
GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
Sonia: We are currently sitting on an opportunity to aggressively push sustainable tourism and make this a given for any property in The Bahamas. We should require that our hotels in the first instance be high performance buildings, with excellent carbon footprints. We should be reusing, recycling and cutting waste. If we can do this without hurting our cost competitiveness we would set ourselves apart from the pack and demonstrate that we really care about our country.
GB: What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
Sonia: Do your homework, literally. There a lot of opportunities very high up in the food chain of these resorts that Bahamians can fill. We must accept the fact that a lot of the developers are multi-national companies and it means we may be competing with international persons for jobs at home. This means we need to get international exposure and experience, and be prepared to function at the top of our game.
While the government is not currently considering whether to change the law that prohibits Bahamians from gambling in local casinos, a senior official at Atlantis Resort said the property would welcome the move if it ever happened.
"Obviously, we will conduct our operations according to the laws of the country that we're in," said George Markantonis, president and managing director of Kerzner International Bahamas.
"We'd be delighted if there was a method to allow locals to participate in games of chance in the casinos, but realize that there are reasons why the rules are in place today.
"So we will wait and see what shows up in a national referendum and what the public debate leads to in the future."
Public debate on gambling heightened in recent weeks after Prime Minister Perry Christie said he intends to call the referendum before the end of the year.
But Christie reiterated last week that casino gambling for Bahamians in The Bahamas is not up for discussion.
"The referendum is about whether or not we have a national lottery, whether or not we legalize the web shop gambling, full stop. It's not about whether Bahamians gamble in casinos," Christie said.
Despite his comment, there continues to be widespread discussion about whether casino gambling should also be up for consideration.
Markantonis, who was contacted by The Nassau Guardian for comment, was asked whether it would be good for Kerzner's business if the restrictions were lifted.
"I think it would be good business for Kerzner, but I also think it is one more amenity for everyone who lives in The Bahamas, one more entertainment option," he said.
"Now you have to balance that with the fact that if it were allowed, the guidelines would have to make sure that they were responsible and that people didn't go and injure their personal incomes.
"So, as I said, we respect what the laws of the country are. We would like to see it spread out a bit more as it's done in other nations and we'll see how it all shakes out."
Robert Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, told The Nassau Guardian he is an advocate of "limited and not complete relaxation" of regulations prohibiting locals from gambling in casinos.
"I believe that gaming regulations as written today do not put The Bahamas in a very competitive position and require a major overhaul if we are to level the playing field, certainly in The Bahamas, and be competitive with other jurisdictions that exist... in North American and Europe and Asia," he said.
"I am also an advocate for the consideration and review of limited relaxations of Bahamians gambling in casinos."
In 2009, the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) presented a list of recommendations to the government to ease stringent requirements on gaming.
The proposal, however, did not call for the government to make it legal for Bahamians to gamble in local casinos.
The association asked the government to widen the net of people who can gamble legally, including permanent residents and people on short-term work permits.
At the time, Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian told The Nassau Guardian that Baha Mar backed the proposal.
"It happens everywhere in The Bahamas," Izmirlian said, referring to gambling. "You might as well legalize it and let the government benefit from those tax revenues."
Asked whether he would welcome Bahamians gambling in his casino, Izmirlian said at the time that he already welcomes Bahamians everywhere on the properties at Cable Beach.
"One thing that we've done, not just in the design of Baha Mar, but in the hotels today, is we've tried to embrace the community," he said.
"I feel that some of the other resorts have turned their backs a little bit on Bahamians and some didn't even use the word Bahamas in their advertising. We're different from that; not only did we embrace the design and culture, but we want Bahamians to come into our resort."
In that 2009 interview, Izmirlian also said there are very few jurisdictions that don't welcome locals in casinos.
He added that gaming in The Bahamas was being hurt by outdated laws that fail to make the jurisdiction competitive.
"Our gaming laws in The Bahamas are just not competitive versus other jurisdictions in the U.S. and other places in the world, and we really need urgently to address our gaming regulations here in The Bahamas," he said.
"It's a detailed list of recommendations which we believe should be implemented as soon as possible. We need to be competitive on the types of games we can offer [and] how quickly we can implement new games as they become available on the market. And we also need to realize that there are certain residents here, whether it's permanent residents or others, who should be allowed to gamble."
Today, hoteliers still make similar statements about the need for the industry to be more competitive.
Hoteliers have long sought more competitive gaming sector
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie told Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department that they must express their views on how the Ministries and Departments must be directed.He was speaking at the Ministry of Finance Budget 2012/13 Budget Symposium at the Sheraton Cable Beach, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
The Prime Minister said, "If when we make the final judgment, it flies in the face of your opinion, you would have done your job, because you have too much invested in you, to conform to what you think is politically right. "You are no good to me, none, if you just listen to what I say." He said when a new Government administration comes into power, offices are fixed up for Ministers and they also receive new vehicles, while in sharp contrast the Simpson Penn Centre For Boys and the Willie Mae Pratt Centre For Girls are in desperate need of repairs.
"These contradictions must be challenged by you," the Prime Minister said. "You have an obligation to recognise what is happening in our country, and when the systems that we have, do not allow that to happen, we know they are deficient. Therefore, make recommendations for them to change." He told the senior government officials that they represent an "incredible assembly of brainpower" that must be used for the maximum benefit of the country.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Top executives from Beijing Construction America and influential investors from China have arrived in Freeport to hammer home a project that could change the Grand Bahama economy.
The foreign delegation is engaged in a series of meetings with government officials. The 1.1 million-square-foot facility, representing a total investment of $200 million, is designed to provide merchants from China and around the world with an international platform to promote, sell and distribute mass quantities of goods to corporations throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Beijing Construction America is slated to be the general contractor, while The Export-Import Bank of China will help provide financing for the $200 million project. World Mart has received preliminary approval from the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), and Ian Fair, the chairman, is reporting "considerable progress".
Zac Henson, the president of Beijing Construction America, told Guardian Business during an exclusive interview that his company is "aggressively investing in the U.S." through his counterparts in the Chinese banks. That eye for opportunity has now led them just a few dozen miles off the coast of Florida, to Grand Bahama.
Henson said the construction of World Mart, over the course of two years, will generate up to 1,200 jobs for Bahamians. While construction would be overseen by Beijing Construction, a series of sub-contractors will be enlisted.
And when the complex is complete, World Mart is estimated to create up to 3,000 jobs.
"We are here to design, build and possibly finance this project," he added.
Henson and his team are joined by top-level investors from China to scout the site. Kenneth Hutton and Joe Thompson, the Bahamian executives behind the distribution center, were also in attendance and introduced the foreign delegation to local government officials.
The World Mart team is expected to meet today with Ryan Pinder, the minister of financial services, and Michael Darville, the minister for Grand Bahama.
Comprising 1,600 display stalls, World Mart will be divided into five districts geared towards specific areas of trade and distribution: Fashion Boulevard, Technology Way, Home Goods Avenue, Manufacturing Place and Season Street.
Each district is in the shape of a circle, and perhaps most interestingly, a clear glass cube lies in the middle for displays and private meetings.
The Bahamian business model has been fashioned from Yiwu International Trade City, one of the largest wholesale centers in the world.
"Manufacturing is aging in China. They aren't cranking it out like they were a few years ago. That's why you see Export-Import Bank being so aggressive, and their state-owned partners," Henson said.
The notion of a free trade zone between the U.S. and China, and China and the U.S., is very attractive within the free trade bubble, he explained.
The concept of World Mart, however, is not to just bring big business to The Bahamas, but create a destination in itself.
Plans are in the works for a hotel and several restaurants. The spill off effect, Henson added, would be tremendous for an island in dire need for employment.
In size and scale, World Mart, as a Chinese project, would only be rivaled by Baha Mar, the ongoing $2.6 billion resort development on Cable Beach.
According to the latest numbers from the Department of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Grand Bahama is around 21 percent.
Henson and his team will be in Freeport until Friday.
"I think there is an incredibly unused asset here. It has tremendous potential," he said. "But because of the economy, and because of world circumstances, it has a stomach ache, and it needs medical attention."
Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday expressed optimism over job creation and ongoing recovery in the national economy as he spoke on the final day of debate on the 2012/2013 budget in the House of Assembly.
Christie said he has been meeting with people with the capacity to add jobs to the economy.
"I'm optimistic, Mr. Speaker, that with hard work we're going to succeed in bringing this country back to where it should be," he said.
"...We feel encouraged about our new position in this country looking forward."
Christie previously said the country needs 43,000 new jobs over the next three to four years to reduce the high unemployment level.
He reported yesterday that he met recently with officials of Brookfield Asset Management, the new owners of Kerzner International, and they expressed a sense of optimism over the property's future.
Christie said that at some stage Brookfield will be doing things to make its product stronger.
He also said he is optimistic with respect to the Baha Mar project at Cable Beach, and added that the government will be involved in marketing both properties to ensure they are able to co-exist.
Christie also announced that the Albany development in southwest New Providence is getting ready to expand.
The prime minister also expressed optimism with respect to Grand Bahama, whose economy the new administration has pledged to place special focus on.
"I'm optimistic that when we look at Grand Bahama and the decisions we made to provide a reduction in the taxes for hotels... those reductions were calculated to signal to hotel owners that the Government of The Bahamas is prepared to work assiduously to ensure that Grand Bahama recovers," Christie said.
In his recent budget communication, the prime minister announced a reduction in the hotel occupancy tax for new hotels in Grand Bahama for 10 years.
Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said after the budget communication that it is important to note that the cap on real property tax and the reduction in hotel occupancy tax are specifically designed to stimulate the Grand Bahama economy, attract tourists, create jobs and stimulate the construction of new hotels.
"The benefits of course will be more revenue, more jobs and more new business opportunities for Bahamians," Halkitis said.
Christie announced yesterday that the government is reviewing the Ginn development in West Grand Bahama "with a view to seeing how we can in fact cause that to be developed."
Grand Bahama's economy -- which was suffering serious challenges long before the global economic crisis struck in 2008 -- continued to limp along under the Ingraham administration.
Earlier this year, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham admitted that there were disappointments relative to the Grand Bahama economy since 2007, including the Ginn project going bust and Harcourt failing to redevelop Royal Oasis Hotel.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Christie also indicated that his administration is reviewing a project for Grand Bahama that the Ingraham administration rejected.
"I met before the election with a partner in that development," he said. "I am reviewing as we speak the development that was refused by the former government. It has been reshaped and refashioned. We are having discussions. We will have to see what comes out of it."
The former prime minister announced that his government had no intentions of approving a major project for East Grand Bahama that was being proposed because the government had serious concerns about the proposal.
Christie said yesterday there is a will on the part of the developers and there is a will on the part of the government to get the project off the ground.
He said the country needs a quantum leap in employment.
The latest statistics from the Department of Statistics placed the national unemployment rate at 15.9 percent last fall, up by over two percentage points from 13.7 percent in May 2011.
The unemployment rate in New Providence stood at 15.1 percent, while in Grand Bahama it was estimated to be 21.2 percent.
Referring to Grand Bahama, the prime minister said, "We are well aware of matters that have been brought to the attention... of the former government with respect to the industrial sector and we are reviewing those."
Christie said there is on the horizon the hope of things getting better all around.
"And so, I am optimistic about developments that are taking place around this island (New Providence) and around this country," he said.
Referring to concessions, Christie said the government would ensure that the Bahamian people get the maximum benefits of developments.
He assured his administration will exercise care in the granting of concessions.
PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham said last night that $400 million in construction work on the Baha Mar project will go to Bahamian contractors, marking what he called the largest sum ever awarded to Bahamians on a project in the Bahamas.
Mr Ingraham spoke before the House of Assembly unanimously (36 with four absent) passed the Baha Mar labour resolution that allows for 8,150 workers, but no more than 5,000 at one time to be employed on the Baha Mar Cable Beach project.
The Prime Minister also noted the concerns expressed by Kerzner International's CEO Sol Kerzner over a breach of the investment agreement signed with Atlantis. "I do not concede that we would be in breach of the deal with K ...
Young people in The Bahamas must hold their heads high and expand their horizons if they want to survive in difficult financial times, said Donald Saunders, the Deputy Secretary General, attorney and former FNM candidate.
He felt the recent City Market closures was an example of why Bahamians should educate themselves, remain flexible and always be on the look out for new and unusual opportunities.
"Yes, the country, along with most of the world, is suffering to some extent," the told Guardian Business.
"But this is an opportunity to achieve better skills and look to jobs of the future. I think we really need to train Bahamians in new areas.
"People should be prepared to retool themselves from an educational or training perspective."
Saunders said Bahamians often focus on the core industries, including tourism and financial services.
But technology, farming and other less conventional professions must also be considered.
Although he admitted the economy was undergoing difficult times, Saunders added that the government was doing a reasonable job keeping employment at an acceptable level.
He pointed to various programs and projects supported by the government, which have provided thousands of opportunities for Bahamians.
Baha Mar, for example, the multi-billion-dollar development in Cable Beach, has so far employed more than 1,000 locals.
"We talk about the Chinese and other foreigners," he said, "but we should take the opportunity to ensure we have Bahamians employed at these facilities and [are] really learning from these foreign workers so we don't have to depend on them as much. Upgrading your skills is very important."
Saunders felt Atlantis would continue to generate jobs through upcoming projects and repairs to the site.
Work being done to the magistrate court building and the supreme court in downtown Nassau, along with the current road works project, are also keeping Bahamians employed.
But in particular, Saunders highlighted the importance of the Job Readiness and Training Initiative, which Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister, kicked off this month. Hundreds of Bahamians were inducted into the program as the first class - 400 participants from New Providence, and 240 from Grand Bahama.
The $25 million program includes 52 weeks of job placement and two weeks of orientation. Thousands are expected to go through the initiative over the next several years.
"When the economy does take a turn for the better, they will be in a position to take full advantage of that," Saunders explained. "I do think we have to encourage young people to look at new areas of employment."
And despite the hard times, he pointed out that the government, unlike other countries in the region, has not cut any essential services.
"As a young Bahamian in the professional world, and especially as an attorney for major bank institutions, I often see the affects of the downturn on the economy and general public. In my view, the government is doing a fairly good job in how it is dealing with the economy and how they are sustaining it," he said.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
US gaming giant Harrah's Entertainment has filed a motion in the New York State Supreme Court for a September 14 hearing to approve the payment of $12.174 million in legal costs to it by Baha Mar, warning that if the Cable Beach developer opposes this it will seek to also gain the $116,492 it was denied.
James Kearney, an attorney with Latham & Watkins, in an affidavit filed with the New York courts earlier this week, affirmed that Harrah's and its Caesars Bahamas subsidiary were moving to recover the legal costs they had allegedly incurred in defending themselves against breach of contract and other claims made over the two parties' f ...
Located in the heart of the Caribbean, the islands of the Bahamas can provide the perfect place to lay your roots and build your dream home--as long as you can afford the price tag that many luxury homes boast. For those who can afford to live the life of luxury, the Bahamas has all the construction, design and real estate services anyone could wish for. For many local Bahamians, however, life is less glamorous. The islands' ample working-class section often inhabits shacks and huts, which can make them vulnerable to hurricanes and constant rebuilding efforts.