Town Meeting Share Optimism in Grand Bahama’s Economic Outlook

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G.B. ECOMONY SYMPOSIUM – Minister of State for Finance and the Public Service, the Hon. Zhivargo Laing was a panelist at a symposium hosted by Jones Communications on Grand Bahama’s economy held Monday, February 18, 2008.  Pictured from left are Mr. Kevin Seymour, partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers; Keith Worrell, General Manager of G.B. Millwork; Gwendolyn Newbold, businesswoman and former G.B. Chamber president; Minister Laing; Mr. Greg Moss, President of the G.B. Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Wendall Jones, CEO of Jones Communications. (Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

By: Simon Lewis

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Minister of State for Finance the Hon. Zhivargo Laing expressed high optimism Monday in what he termed Grand Bahama’s “medium to long term” economic future.

Mr. Laing was a panelist at a community symposium on the island’s economy hosted by Jones Communications.

“[With] the things that I am aware of, to the extent that I believe that these would come to pass, I believe that Grand Bahama’s medium term prospects are much better and I am very optimistic about this island’s economic growth and expansion that far out.” he said.

Mr. Laing pointed out that marginal improvement will occur in the island’s economy over the next 12 months.

“I think that that would start the extent to which the Royal Oasis property comes back on stream, which I expect that it will; when the Freeport Container Port engages its new $500 million expansion, which I expect it will; when Our Lucaya finds more strategic and better operators, as I hope it will; and as the Government itself makes some additional public sector investments in Grand Bahama as I know it will, that these things will generate economic activities for this island,” he noted.

Minister Laing indicated that additional economic activity is also expected to take place when the Ginn group in West End moves on to “vertical development” from its necessary process of land sales.

“This economy has the capacity right now to absorb very nearly two hundred thousand new residents without adding a single infrastructure. There is not an island in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that can say that, so there is enormous capacity here and I have no doubt that that capacity will begin to be develop,” he said.