FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — Sitting Chairman of the Caribbean Community regional body (CARICOM) and President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier David Granger said that he and members of his Cabinet were in The Bahamas to learn, and during his visit to Grand Bahama he admitted that in two days they had learned a lot.
Addressing a special luncheon in his honour, hosted by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie and Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville at the Grand Lucayan, Brigadier Granger said that The Bahamas has been a good example to the rest of the Caribbean community in terms of outstanding development.
“We have been deeply impressed by the development of The Bahamas, particularly in the financial and tourism sectors under Prime Minister Christie,” said the Guyanese President. “But there can be no doubt about the pre-eminence of the Bahamian economy and I have come with my Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Agriculture, and Minister of Business and Minister of Tourism to look and to learn from The Bahamas.
“From what we have seen here in Grand Bahama, there is no doubt a model for industrial development and format from which we can learn a lot.”
President Granger said that regional tourism and collaboration between member states must become an emerging trend, especially if Caribbean islands that depend heavily on tourism intend to survive in the face of the opening of the borders of a destination like Cuba.
“I am convinced that if we can combine our talents and our resources we can offer a world-class product. The Bahamas is already a world-class destination and we would like to learn how you have been able to accomplish that position.
“Grand Bahama has set the stage as a major player in the industrial sector and from the visits we have made to places like the Container Port and the Grand Bahama Shipyard, we can take away so much information to study. We are very happy with what we have seen during our visit here.”
He said that The Bahamas is well on the path to prosperity and security, and well on the path to sealing its position with solidarity with the rest of the Caribbean community. Brigadier Granger said be assured that his ministers for Tourism, Business and Finance would be back in The Bahamas at a later date, for a longer period of time, to learn more about how The Bahamas has been able to accomplish what it has in terms of gaining a foothold in tourism, economics and industrial success.
“The Caribbean is a unique zone – situated in between two giants – the North American Continent and the South American Continent. In between we have scores of small and micro-states.
“These states and countries are threatened because of economic hardships. But we have to transform our economies. So we have been able to come to Grand Bahama and see how this transformation is taking place.
“But Grand Bahama is just one part of the entire Caribbean and during my semester as head of CARICOM, I will take the message of what I have learned here to my colleagues around the Caribbean.”
During the luncheon, Sarah St. George, Vice-Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, presented Brigadier Granger with a special gold coin, which represented the 50th anniversary of the Port Authority.
By Andrew Coakley
Bahamas Information Services