By Krystel Rolle
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Bahamas government is trying to develop a partnership with Brazil to build an ethanol plant on Grand Bahama, which could result in the creation of as many as 4,000 jobs, Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder revealed on Monday.
“We spoke to one of the largest ethanol producers in Brazil and they have such a high consumption of ethanol they have to look for export markets. They need to look in other jurisdictions. I propose again, Grand Bahama, because of the container port that's there, and the closeness to Andros – you may be able to utilize the sugar cane. Now their estimates were 3,000 to 4,000 jobs that can come out of that one initiative,” Pinder told reporters on the sidelines of the Trade in Services Workshop on Monday morning.
“So we're activity looking to see if our soil quality is good enough to meet the standards to grow the sugar cane and all of the technical components to be able to say The Bahamas is a good access point for North America.”
The minister said there are several opportunities to do business with countries in Latin America and Brazil. Pinder travelled to Brazil last week seeking investment opportunities for The Bahamas. He said he expects to go on a follow-up trip early next year with officials from the Port Authority to further the discussions regarding the development of an ethanol plant.
He said the government wants to position Freeport as a dominant trade hub for Latin America and Brazil.
"When I was in Brazil I spoke to the poultry association but I spoke to them in the context of using The Bahamas as a trade hub rather than domestic production, and that could produce a number of jobs and opportunities in Grand Bahama,” he said.
"The opportunities are very great. But you have to be very aggressive and you have to do your homework and be able to present your proposals. Gone are the days when people say ‘let’s go to The Bahamas and do business’. The reality is you have to go out and get the business."
Pinder added that the government is also in talks with North American and European officials for additional opportunities.
Pinder said he will travel to Brussels, Belgium later this month in a bid to seek out investment opportunities for the country.
“Those are the keen markets that I see us being able to advance and flourish. You don’t really want to really spread yourselves overly thin grasping at straws in certain jurisdictions,” he said.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian