FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The Hon. Kwasi Thompson in a press conference Wednesday assured residents of Grand Bahama that the island is a top priority with the newly elected governing Free National Movement with there being a State Minister, a Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister representing the island at the highest level. The press conference took place at the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama.
Mr. Thompson was sworn in on Monday, May 15, 2017 as Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister.
During the press conference, he said, he was grateful to have been sworn in to his position, and it will be a collective effort between all representatives: “It is a privilege to be appointed to the people’s Cabinet to do the people’s business. I also express my commitment to the people of Grand Bahama, to my Parliamentary Colleagues, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance the Hon. Peter Turnquest; Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, the Hon. Michael Pintard; Members of Parliament Frederick McAlpine, Iram Lewis and Pakeshia Parker-Edgecombe.”
He said, “This will be a collective effort to fulfill our commitment to the people of Grand Bahama. The people of The Bahamas have given this Prime Minister and this government a mandate of change.”
Expressing that he lived, went to school and returned from school to start his career, in Grand Bahama, he said, “I will with God’s help and guidance use my abilities to perform this job with excellence and integrity.”
Outlining his portfolio, Minister Thompson said it is as follows: To have full control of day-to-day operations of the former Ministry for Grand Bahama. Oversight of Urban Renewal, and Hurricane Restoration & Repairs in Grand Bahama.
A final determination will be made by the Minister responsible, the Hon. Lanisha Rolle with respect to Urban Renewal, and he emphasized that the Ministry of Grand Bahama will not be dismantled, but it will be incorporated with the Office of the Prime Minister.
“The Ministry for Grand Bahama has now been incorporated into the Office of the Prime Minister. This is intentional and is more beneficial to the work performed in Grand Bahama. First, Grand Bahama is very important to the Prime Minister who decided that he would be the substantive Minister for Grand Bahama and I would be responsible for the day-to-day running of the office in Grand Bahama. It is also important and a fulfillment of our campaign promise to ensure a smoother and more effective processing of investments for Grand Bahama. However, at all times, the Prime Minister has oversight of Grand Bahama.
“It is also important and a fulfillment of our campaign promise to ensure that there is a smoother and more effective processing of investments for Grand Bahama. For example, investments are processed through the Office of the Prime Minister. When there was a separate Ministry for Grand Bahama, while some of the work was done at the Ministry for Grand Bahama, the bulk of that work would have been done and performed through the offices in Nassau in the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Investments.
“Major investments would have been taken care of out of Nassau in the Office of the Prime Minister. The intention is to bring the Ministry for Grand Bahama under the Office of the Prime Minister so that when it comes to the processing of major investments, it would be done smoother because it will actually be done in the same ministry. We hope that this would lead to a quicker processing for investments and if it is done quicker, that means that more jobs would be done and be available at a more expeditious rate.”
The new budget, he added, has to be prepared and submitted for approval in about two weeks and the government will seek to implement some aspects of their Manifesto in this budget period.
“Today I will begin the process of meeting with investors who will be vital in the economic recovery of Grand Bahama. I have made the creation of private sector long-term employment top priority for the Office here in Grand Bahama. I will also follow the lead of the Prime Minister to be open and transparent on how the people’s money was spent and how the money is going to be spent in the future.”