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Exuma Chamber pushing for local exposure

Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Oct 02, 2013

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With Exuma’s economy reportedly being “flat”, the island’s Chamber of Commerce is looking to give it a much-needed boost by designating October as the “All Exuma Homecoming Month.”

President of Exuma’s Chamber of Commerce, Pedro Rolle, told Guardian Business yesterday that while there is the promise of new developments for the island, the economy remains flat.

“We are inviting Exumians from wherever they may be to come and spend the whole weekend home. When they come, that impacts us. They are going to rent cars, some of them may not have places to stay. They are going to bring their friends or spouses who may have never been to Exuma. So on a wider scale, that is bringing a whole lot of monies into our economy because, trust me, we need it,” Rolle said.

“Overall, Exuma’s economy is kind of flat because there has been no real injection of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Exuma for some time. There is the promise of something, the hope of things but we need something. Our economy is still flat. I don’t think we are depressed but it’s stagnant.”

The chamber chief also believes the activities scheduled for the month will bring exposure to the island, giving people an opportunity to see what is available in Exuma.

“A lot of people think that on the Family Islands, you are disadvantaged in some way. But that’s not the case. These events will bring us together and expose us as a community to show who we are and what we do,” he said.

He confirmed that a number of activities have been planned for the month. An interpretative village will be erected on Georgetown’s Regatta Park from October 10-14. Over that four-day period, the interpretive village will host concerts, cultural shows, sporting events and exhibitions.

On Friday, October 11, the village will be officially opened for the general public with a mixer and on Saturday, October 12, there will be a full-day of activities planned for the village including a story telling porch, bush medicine demonstrations, and the preparation/ tasting of traditional foods like okra soup, boiled peanuts, parched corn, crab and dough and dried fish with sweet potato or cassava.

Visitors can also head out to historic Williams Town for an all-day cookout. And on Saturday evening, there will be a homecoming in Mount Thompson. On Sunday, there will be a church service at St. Andrews.

But, Monday October 14 is expected to be the biggest day of the weekend that will start with an Exuma Home Coming Mile Race around Victoria Pond and end back at the village for a full day of sporting events, including a mini Regatta. A battle of the Exuma bands and a Junkanoo rushout will cap off those activities.

"Exuma is going through a transformation", Rolle said. "We have a new mail boat dock, a new hospital, new interests in hotel and condominium developments, and we are poised for major growth in the next five years.

"It's an exciting time and we want to show it to Exumians outside Exuma, to all Bahamians, and to all investors who are looking for retirement homes, investments, and new business opportunities.”

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