Ingraham signs away Arawak Cay

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Remarks by
Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham

Click and listen to Hubert Ingraham at  the Arawak cay dev signing – 10 May

Click and listen to the Q & A following the Arawak Cay Contract Signing

We have witnessed the signing by the Secretary to the Cabinet; the Secretary to the National Economic Council, and Mr. Jim Mosko of the private sector grouping, of a Memorandum of Understanding designed to achieve certain objectives.

It has long been held as an objective of successive Governments of The Bahamas that freight ought to be moved from Bay Street.

We seek firstly to lower the cost of goods and the cost of living for Bahamians by reducing the cost of imported goods. We seek to expand the ownership by Bahamians of an important, profitable sector of the Bahamian economy.

We seek to broaden the ownership in the shipping sector in The Bahamas in particular, and to facilitate and accommodate public and private sector collaboration.

For more than 40 years it has been the objective of successive Governments of The Bahamas to remove freight from down town Bay Street.

Many discussions have been held and many attempts have been undertaken. This is why my first predecessor in Office, Sir Lynden Pindling, so feverishly hoped to accomplish this objective and tried to do so on a number of occasions.

My immediate predecessor, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie also sought to achieve this objective without success.

I’m very pleased this morning to have a hand in beginning to deliver on the commencement of a 40-year delayed promise to the Bahamian people.

By doing this we will open up significant real property along Bay Street for redevelopment and growth in down town Nassau. We will reduce congestion along the main thoroughfare in our city and we will permit the restoration of our to its earlier days of charm.

Historically, and today, the substantial income derived from shipping activity into New Providence has been owned and controlled by a select few families: the Symonettes, Bethells, Kellys, Farringtons, Roberts – more recently, the Moskos and even more recently – the Lightbournes and the Wells.

Today we are taking action so that income derived from shipping is distributed more equitably and evenly amongst the population of The Bahamas.

60% of profits derived from this enterprise will go to Bahamians other than the historic shipping families – 40% directly by the Government and 20% by the general public. And we look forward to the day when the general public will end up owning the 40% which the Government is now taking as its ownership.

This is a further effort by my Government to deepen and broaden ownership of our economy. We began this exercise during my first term in office with Cable Bahamas and Bank of The Bahamas.

We have a most enviable record in terms of deepening ownership in the Bahamian economy, not comparable to any others before our time or even now.

This will also provide the Government with an opportunity to consolidate its Customs Service at our principal port of entry thereby ensuring that the same rules apply to all items entering the country, so that different customs officers at different ports of entry do not apply different rules and that different practices do not exist.

We now have along Bay Street, Customs posted at John Alfred Warf, Seaboard Marine, Kelly’s Dock, Union Dock and Arawak Cay.

As a result of this Memorandum of Understanding, Customs will be posted at one place – at Arawak Cay.

This will also assist us to better deploy our customs officers, placing an adequate number of officers where they are needed, and permit us to re-deploy some customs officers to be revenue officers.

This will also put us in position to not have scattered all over New Providence, all sorts of so-called ‘bonded warehouses’, because all bonded warehouses will be located at one location on Gladstone Road.

I want to thank all – in the private and in the public sector – who have laboured long and hard to make today possible.  I especially wish to thank Jimmy Mosko, Chairman of the Group who has had to liaise between sometimes conflicting views in the private sector on the one side and with the Government on the other, and to pay tribute to the private sector for having the confidence to be able to come together and agree with the Government on this way forward.

It took a great effort on the private sector’s part because they were faced with reducing income which they are now making, and having threats by an Opposition Party that it would discontinue to operation at Arawak Cay.

And so they had to be bold and take my word and my action for it that a deal done with the Government of The Bahamas is a deal done, irrespective of any noise to the contrary in the marketplace.

The Government therefore, looks forward to a harmonious relationship between the private sector and ourselves. We expect that the Port will be managed by the private sector and not by the Government.

The ownership ratio is 40/40/20 – that is, 40% privately owned, 40% government owned and 20% to be made available to the general public.

I look forward to the day when the Government of The Bahamas will be out of this business completely, and do the job which it is best able to do – regulate, as opposed to operate and manage.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Sell out plain and simple who are the 19 intrested shareholders hiding behind company names he call out the bethels,symonettes, etc why not the new shipping moguls how is the poor man to benefit again oh yeah thats right a wage scandalous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hubert said the same thing when he sold the port authority the west End power and light and the water sewage during his fisrt term. Now everyone in Grand Bahama is paying the highest rate in the Caribean even with the Port Athority duty free concesssions. For those of you in Bahamaland who are sold on private corporation and international partnership ask the Good People in Grand Bahama about THE Grand Bahama Power Company. I will take BEC over GPC any time anywhere. The good Minstry Mr. Phanton Neymour knows this. when he was the COO of the CDR they critize the GPC than. I wonder if hes has flip flop. The poor peole in this country is catching eternal hell.

  3. “95% of Bahamians dont know diddle about stocks, what they are, or how to acquire them.”

    Then 95% of the Bahamian public need to educate themselves. How much longer do we want to be spoon fed. The joke is even in economics and accounting classes in HS, kids would duck class and dont give a crap when they were in class. If you’ve read rich dad poor dad then you’d see why the situation we are in is perpeptual.

    The joke is that when we have FREE townhalls, workshops and seminars talking about business opportunites and those 95% dont showup.

    Money and business is all about taking advantage of oppurtunites when they arise. They arose when Cable sold its shares at $1, they arose when land was alot cheaper than it is today and persons could have bought and see their investment triple in many cases.
    We are in the 21st century. Google is out there. For those who dont have internet…they know where to find it, cuz they know where to find the webshops when they want to play.

    Question is how much Bahamians are motivated to do it? Making money isnt easy and simple, because if it was we’d all be rich. (and I dont mean from going school..geting a job)

  4. This action by the Prime Minister does nothing to address the grave structural problems of the Bahamian economy. It simply continues the focus on the duty based source of government revenue. By continuing to encourage imports instead of substitution of food imports for example by local food this government shows that it is not serious about reducing our dependency on outside cancer promoting foods!
    Using tax payers money for this purpose instead of powering a major initiative to make the Bahamas more food independent is a very poor choice.
    We need a better vision for the Bahamas than the mere continuation of the old trend to follow the culture of the import/export Bay street merchant philosophy.
    We are better than what this FNM administration is seeking to perpetuate.

  5. PM: “We seek firstly to lower the cost of goods and the cost of living for Bahamians by reducing the cost of imported goods..”

    Mr Ingraham’s statement is so disingenuous because Mr Ingraham is giving the impression that the shipping cost, if reduced, will dramatically affect the cost of goods and services. That is just not 100% true.

    Can someone explain to me how that by moving the port a quarter of a mile down the road will reduce the shipping costs? Am i missing something?

    Mr Ingraham, you Sir, have increased the tariffs/customs duties significanlty accross the board. The shipping cost isnt the issue when compared to the amout of money spent on customs duties.

    To bring something into this country is very expensive. On some items the tariff is 75% of the item’s value. Your essentially paying for your goods TWICE!

    Right now the price of gas in approaching $5 a gallon again. The government gets $1.77 a gallon, which is the highest in the region. If your so concerned about reducing the cost of living, why not start with reducing that $1.77 the government gets from fuel? And while your at it, how about cutting the civil service by 20%?

    PM: Today we are taking action so that income derived from shipping is distributed more equitably and evenly amongst the population of The Bahamas.

    60% of profits derived from this enterprise will go to Bahamians other than the historic shipping families – 40% directly by the Government and 20% by the general public. And we look forward to the day when the general public will end up owning the 40% which the Government is now taking as its ownership.

    BP, the public stake is 20%? Well who do you think is going to buy the most of these stocks? I will bet you the the very same three shipping families will buy up a good portion of those stocks which would mean that at the end of the day they could potentially own over 50% of the total port.

    And If Mr Ingraham makes the 40% government stake public, we will be right back at square one because i say again, who do you think will buy the most of these stocks? 95% of Bahamians dont know diddle about stocks, what they are, or how to acquire them.

    This entire port deal is set up to get the tax payer to pay for the bulk of the port and Bay Street redevelopment right now and further down the road, the port owners have a way to recoup their majority stake ownership in the port. I would bet that in 5-10 years the same three families combine will hold the majority of the public shares.

    But what is even sweeter for them is that right now they get government and public funds to help pay for their new port and develop their various properties on Bay Street.

    The Bay Street Boys are getting a sweetheart of a deal at the taxpayer’s expense. The small man is getting screwed again!

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