By Caribbean News Now contributor
NASSAU, Bahamas —Nassau’s cruise port redevelopment could lead to a significant increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) for The Bahamas by 2023, president of Colina Financial Advisors Ltd (CFAL) Anthony Ferguson said Wednesday, adding that the heads of agreement with the government on the project could be concluded within six weeks.
Ferguson said, “The economic impact is going to be up to $18 billion or $20 billion so as a result of that [GDP] will increase, when you think about it if you divide that, probably between 0.5 percent and one percent.”
When Ferguson was asked if the GDP increase would occur before 2021, he answered, “No, no, no, no. Once it’s fully operational so that wouldn’t happen before, probably in the beginning of 2022 or 2023, you will begin to see a noticeable increase, a sustainable increase in the GDP contribution.”
It was announced in February that the bid to redevelop and manage the Port of Nassau, heralded as the world’s busiest cruise port, was won by Global Ports Holding (GPH). Ferguson said, in reference to the heads of agreement for the project, “It’s in negotiations, so hopefully within the next month, six weeks, it will be concluded.”
Ferguson highlighted that the agreement would be “the best heads of agreement for Bahamians” and would guarantee “Bahamian-only retail space.”
He also said the environmental impact assessment (EIA) would begin prior to the end of the year. “They have engaged an environmental consulting company and they will, I guess, commence work shortly,” Ferguson said.
According to Ferguson, about 85 percent or 90 percent” of the employees operating the port when it is completed will be Bahamian.
CFAL is the lead investment management firm that will develop and create the Bahamas Investment Fund and also a collaborator for the port development project.
It is expected that roughly 30,000 Bahamians will partake in the public offering for the cruise port. To acquire the most significant share of Bahamians invested in the port, GPH is providing a $10 million loan for Bahamians to borrow up to $1,000 so that they can invest in the project.
Those investment opportunities are expected to begin by the end of the year.
The project has been billed as a game-changer coming to The Bahamas. Port Nassau is a $250 million project that will dramatically redevelop a port that draws around 4 million travellers every year.
The proposal involves plans to convert the port into a “state of the art port and waterfront destination” managed by Nassau Cruise Port Ltd, a speciality purpose vehicle created for the project.
The proposal calls a completely transformed port and welcome centre, additional “mega berths” to accommodate some of the world’s largest cruise ships, and a “state-of-the-art entertainment pavilion” for local and international acts and even a Bahamian Junkanoo Museum, among other amenities.
It is expected to be the third significant port for GPH, which also operates ports in Antigua and Havana, Cuba.