Christie Government outlines road ahead for greater Private Public Partnerships

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Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry Christie moves full steam ahead with his national agenda

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie.

Nassau, The Bahamas — The Government of The Bahamas is looking to expand the range of Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangements in which it is involved as a means of efficiently and effectively providing the public infrastructure required for the nation’s development needs, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said.
“Beyond expanding its current roster of arrangements in the areas of ports and airports, we will examine possibilities for the construction and leasing of public building infrastructure and office complexes,” the Prime Minister said.

‘As well, we would be open to possible PPPs in the areas of health, schools, water production and distribution, as well as electricity generation and distribution,” he said at the Conference on Public Private Partnerships in Infrastructure Development and Financing at Atlantis, Thursday, June 20, 2013.

Prime Minister Christie said so far the National Insurance Board has been the most active investor in public facilities that are leased back to the Government on a long-term basis. “However, it is clear that business opportunities can be formulated in these areas for investors, thereby removing ourselves from cash-flow constraints of the National Insurance Board.

“As I mentioned in Parliament in the recent Budget Communication, we are currently undertaking a critical examination of all energy proposals that we have received, for instance in respect of waste energy, with a view to moving forward expeditiously with measures to reduce energy costs in the country.”

He said in addition, the Budget highlighted the Government’s intention to begin, through PPPs, work on the development of a major, week-long Bahamian national cultural festival that could involve the construction of related public infrastructure.

“I also mentioned the public and private sector partnership approach that has successfully been deployed for the new resort development in Bimini, including expansions to the port and airport by the Genting Group, owner of Resorts World, which is opening a new casino in Bimini and assuming control of the Bimini Bay Resort.”

He explained that Resorts World is also investing in the acquisition of the super fast high speed cruise ship to ferry passengers between Florida and Bimini at nominal cost to tourists and residents of Bimini.

The investor is also building, at their expense, a new deep-water jetty and terminal to facilitate the cruise ship and mega yachts.

The Prime Minister said additionally the investors are initially funding the following infrastructure and public works, which will be repaid by Government from deductions from casino taxes.

These will include:

Upgrades to Bimini airport to facilitate night flights and larger aircraft;

Street improvements, landscaping, community clean up and beautification; and

Preparation of a Master Plan to guide the orderly growth and development of Bimini.

He said as a public contribution, which would eventually benefit the Bahamian economy, Genting Energy, undertook and provided gratis to the Government, a useful energy and water study that included recommendations for significantly reducing costs.

“The next important innovation in public private partnerships will be for us to begin to satisfy more of the Government’s need for office premises, and to begin to leverage the Government’s real estate interests to accelerate the redevelopment of the downtown Nassau area.”

Prime Minister Christie said the Government owns a number of important buildings in the downtown area that are in a state of disrepair, and which, if left up to our own budgetary resources, could be in these conditions for protracted period. We will seek to bring private investment to bear in helping to renovate these premises.