In response to the Prime Minister’s request for new and innovative ideas to revitalize the Bahamian economy, and as a reaction to the economic challenges brought on by Covid-19 and Hurricanes Matthew and Dorian, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Limited launched a working committee entitled the Revitalization and Economic Expansion of Freeport (REEF). REEF’s key priorities are to stimulate, activate and lead growth and change by engaging with the people of Grand Bahama and the Government of the Bahamas to support and implement its initiatives.
The REEF Committee’s objective is to create an action plan for short term stability, and medium to long-term growth, sustainability, financial health and above all, the imperative need for Freeport to return to a thriving economy. Recognizing the need for immediate action, the GBPA formed the Committee shortly after the outbreak of Covid-19 in March of this year. The Committee has been hard at work since its formation, and the first iteration of the action plan is now in draft form and will be ready for public consultation on September 23rd. Robert Adams, Consultant Attorney at Delaney Partners and REEF Committee Lead, remarked, “We invite residents and stakeholders to engage in our virtual conversations, share their views with us online at reef.gbpa.com and participate in other consultative exercises. We want to hear from you and invite you to submit your ideas and contribute innovative and dynamic commentary towards the recovery and expansion of Freeport’s economy. Through REEF, the local economy will benefit from strategic conversations and, more importantly, the introduction of an action plan that will implement bold ideas.”
Sarah St. George, Acting Chairman of the GBPA, explained that REEF’s overriding aim is to frame a new direction for Freeport. “Our mission is to obtain crucial, realizable solutions for our community, and we are resolute to implement initiatives that move from ideas to action. Our ideals are complementary to the plans of The Government of The Bahamas to diversify the national economy. The mandate of REEF’s dynamic team is to execute an innovative strategy that incorporates all Freeport has to offer and works for everyone,” Miss St. George said. “We recognize this as a critical moment to take action, revitalize our economy and bring Freeport together.”
Rupert Hayward, Executive Director of the GBPA, also noted that, “This process and project are critical as we seek to address the long-term stability of Grand Bahama. Through this initiative, all residents will be equipped and empowered to contribute new ideas in a collaborative environment with GBPA, to create a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous economy for Freeport and Grand Bahama.”
Ian Rolle, GBPA President stated, “The REEF Committee is comprised of representatives from small, medium and large businesses, business professionals from financial firms, and other business leaders in the Freeport area. A far wider consultation process now follows for the benefit of the Freeport business community, its residents, all Grand Bahamians and, in turn, The Bahamas as a whole.”
For more information on REEF and to provide feedback on the Committee’s action plan for Freeport, please visit the website at www.reef.gbpa.com or follow the GBPA social media pages and local radio stations for public consultation sites.