|PM: Optimism high for GB|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jul 05, 2012
The government is in talks with developers who may be able to boost Grand Bahama’s stagnant economy, Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters yesterday.
Christie said residents of the island have reason to be hopeful of an economic turnaround in the short-term, but he did not say exactly when he expected this to occur.
“In Grand Bahama we have a very dismal situation where the economy has been contracting for a long time,” he told reporters outside the Churchill Building yesterday.
“I’m saying to the people of Grand Bahama there is reason to have hope. There are a number of matters on the drawing board, some of which are receiving the attention of the government.”
Grand Bahama has been in the midst of a recession for years. The most recent unemployment statistics revealed that the jobless rate stood at 21.2 percent as of November 2011.
Christie said he is aware of the frustrations of residents who are ready for jobs and an economic recovery.
“I personally have discussed some exciting possibilities for Grand Bahama. As to when, I will leave it to people to judge,” he said. “I do know they are anxious. I know I have to meet some really high expectations.”
Last week, Christie admitted that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was feeling the pressure to create jobs.
On Friday, he announced that a new casino will open in December at the Bimini Bay resort, which should bring 300 jobs to that island.
Christie said yesterday his government is reviewing other private investment proposals, some of which were on the table before the last election.
“We’re optimistic that there currently are developments ready to proceed . . .Notwithstanding that we have been in office for a short period of time, I have been given cause to be optimistic by the negotiations I have been leading with developers who have the money to move forward,” he said.
“You will be hearing more about that.”
The prime minister said again that his administration is on track to fulfill the pledges it made for the first 100 days in office.
“We’ll be reporting to you. We go back to the House on July 25,” he said.
“We’ll be reporting where we are at that stage, but the fact of the matter is you can just look and feel the difference.
“It’s going to get better. You count, whatever you measure by you keep on measuring and let us know. Whatever the numbers are, whether it’s crime, you just keep on judging and I think you are going to see measurable progress.”