#Bahamas, September 29, 2017 – Grand Bahama – In wake of powerful hurricanes, Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson says The Bahamas is learning a very painful lesson on why the economy must be diversified. Tourism alone, he said, is not enough.
In opening the first Business-to-Business Expo at Pelican Bay resort on Thursday morning, Minister Thompson said that his office was mandated to focus on the economic revitalization of Grand Bahama and the Expo aligns with fulfilling that task, which he hopes will generate much needed growth within Grand Bahama’s broken economy.
“The Government has a focused strategy to improve our economy here in Grand Bahama,” said Minister Thompson. “But we are painfully aware of our current state of affairs here in Grand Bahama. Therefore we must ensure that local businesses and entrepreneurs are in a position to provide the ancillary services to our anchor companies within the Industrial sector. And that’s what a forum like this Business-to-business Expo is all about.”
The Minister for Grand Bahama told Expo attendees that the revitalization of Grand Bahama will require a pluralistic approach, a part of which will include focusing on some big matters – like the opening and redevelopment of the Lucayan Strip, or focusing on iconic properties like Xanadu and Royal Oasis. These, he said, are being aggressively pursued.
He said it will also require improving Grand Bahama’s means of doing business, as well as actively marketing Grand Bahama as a place to do business in the technology industry. He noted that the focus will now have to be on not just tourism, but on maritime and manufacturing.
“This seminar is only one component in our overall strategy,” said Minister Thompson. “So, while we want new businesses to come to Grand Bahama, we also want to ensure that businesses are able to take advantage of every opportunity that already exist here in Grand Bahama.
“I want all of these anchor businesses and industrial companies to fulfill their duty, by ensuring that they indeed use the businesses that are represented in this room. If a Grand Bahama business or entrepreneur can provide the service at a reasonable price, give them the contract.
“Today is not the end, but the beginning, as we shall be following up, fully expecting and demanding that wherever possible, local businesses be provided with the opportunity. This has to be a continual dialogue. This exercise must also be results driven and the results must be that more Grand Bahamians are given opportunities in Grand Bahama.”
Minister Thompson pointed out that the success of the inaugural Expo had nothing to do with the number of people who showed up, but rather would depend upon how many local businesses benefit from the Expo.
He challenged all of the business owners and representatives in the room that within six months there should be at least an additional five businesses that received additional opportunity as a result of what was done at the Expo.
“The Government’s role is that we are committed to making it easier for businesses to do business,” Minister Thompson added. “The government is also committed to making it easier to be able to partner with international persons in order to make your business successful.
“So, I encourage all of you to be innovative in your approach to doing business. The sad thing is, we in Grand Bahama can no longer expect that an opportunity is going to drop in our laps. We live on an island that demands that opportunities sometimes have to be created. So, be creative, be innovative, take initiative, adjust yourself, find a problem to solve and if you do that, you will find a new business, which you can open and be successful.
“We are moving towards an era of entrepreneurship, ownership, partnership and civic engagement. As we continue to work towards making Grand Bahama the center for industry and innovation and the industrial hub it is destined to be, it is important that we embrace new ways of doing business.”
By: Andrew Coakley (BIS)
Photo Captions: OPENS EXPO – Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of The Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson was the keynote speaker at the official opening of the first Business-to-Business Expo at Pelican Point resort on Thursday, September 28, 2017. The concept of the Business-to-Business Expo was born in the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo)
ASKING A QUESTION – Senator Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Grand Bahama asks a question of a panel of executives from the Grand Bahama Shipyard, during question and answer period of the Business-to-Business Expo, Pelican Bay Resort on Thursday, September 28, 2017.