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Gray ‘hopeful’ over Long Cay proposal

MP says MICAL constituency economically ‘stagnant’ for 15-20 years
Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Oct 11, 2013

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Despite there being very little economic activity for the MICAL constituency, Member of Parliament for the area V. Alfred Gray said he is hopeful this could change as the government reviews a development proposal for Long Cay.

While he remained tight-lipped on the details of the proposal, Gray said that the developers are seeking to have an airport on the island. And it’s a decision the government has not made as yet. But if approved, the project could bring much-needed economic relief to its residents.

“Because the development has not yet been approved, I would only say that it is pending. The decision would be made I’m sure very soon,” Gray told Guardian Business.

“I am hoping that even if the developer has to use the closest airport, which is in Crooked Island, a 20-minute ferryboat ride, they will want to do that and that the airport will not be a game changer. But we are looking at it and I’m sure that the government will make a decision and whatever that is, it will be in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”

The MICAL MP maintains that outside the island of Inagua, there is very little economic activity for the other islands that make up the MICAL constituency. Those islands include: Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay.

Gray, who is also the minister of agriculture, pledged his commitment to ensuring that MICAL becomes an investment-friendly area.

“Acklins doesn’t have any real economic activity outside of a few bonefish lodges and the civil servants. Fishing is always a part of what they do. Crooked Island would probably fall in the same category,” he said.

“As they yearn for some kind of development that will bring employment, I am trying my best to find interested investors to the islands because there is very little economic activity.

“Nothing has worsened since the days of the good life. Everything, in my view has remained rather stagnant over the last 15-20 years. So people are accustomed to the present circumstances. It is my hope though as the member of Parliament that things would change dramatically so that young people can stay home and work, rather than move to Nassau when they finish school.”

He also confirmed that work on I-Group’s much anticipated development is expected to begin once the airport repairs are completed.

“The I-Group has had a project on tap for the last seven years and it is not moving as I hoped it would have but there is hope that they would start in earnest as soon as the airport repairs are completed. So I wait with bated breath on that,” Gray added.

On April 4, a plane crashed into a truck on the runway at the Mayaguana airport, killing the mother, sister and brother-in-law of former Cabinet Minister Sidney Collie.

Since then, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin confirmed that emergency solar lights are in place and operating on the runway, and that the practice of using vehicles has been abandoned.

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