Published On: Tue, Sep 25th, 2012

Grand Bahama Minister tells engineers to be ready for growth in economy

FREEPORT (BIS) - Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville on Friday, September 21 told members of the Bahamas Society of Professional Engineers, that as the population of The Bahamas continues to grow, the demands for advancement of infrastructure and technology will be much greater.

“Therefore, we must have the trained professionals in place to meet this demand. Those on Grand Bahama, who live within the boundaries of the Port area (Freeport/Lucaya) are fortunate to enjoy well planned infrastructure that can certainly handle a population size in excess of 200,000 people.
“This did not happen by chance but is a direct result of planning by professionals and engineers. On the contrary, communities in East and West Grand Bahama remain undeveloped. As a result, The Ministry of Grand Bahama and professional bodies like yourself must lead the charge for economic growth and infrastructural development in these settlements,” he stated.
The Bahamas Society of Engineers was having their Annual Grand Bahama Seminar and new Northern Branch Charter. That event was held at the Ruby Swiss Restaurant.
Continuing, Dr. Darville, also a Canadian trained electrical engineer, told the group that the Government of The Bahamas will certainly do its part through the extension of duty free concession throughout Grand Bahama, which will create equal opportunity for all.
“As engineers, we have a collective responsibility to improve the lives of our own people and the ability to play a critical role in fulfilling these global demands.
“Over the last four months The Ministry of Grand Bahama has been working diligently in all the major sectors of our local economy to build relationships and new bridges, build investor confidence while synergistically bringing all government ministries together to bring economic relief for both the residential and business community on Grand Bahama,” he said.
He also mentioned that the Progressive Liberal Party’s Charter of Governance clearly outlines its short and long term plans to revitalise and restore the ailing economy of Grand Bahama while putting Bahamian professionals first by creating economic opportunities and putting the legislation in place to ensure that the professionals are protected and benefit from these opportunities.
“As we are all aware, Grand Bahama’s depressed economic climate is due in part to the closure of many small businesses and hotel properties because of the impact of the global economic down turn. In fact, preliminary studies on the local economy have shown that the industrial sector has carried our economy through the turbulent waters.
“In response, as Minister for Grand Bahama, one of my mandates is to revitalise and promote Grand Bahama as a touristic and industrial centre. Rejuvenating both these industries is crucial to the transformation of this island’s economy and the creation of thousands of sustainable jobs for Grand Bahamians,” he stated.
The Minister further stated that it is his firm belief that Grand Bahama Island will soon witness an explosion in both those sectors, and that once the doors of investment opportunities are opened, countless new projects in both the private and public sectors will become available, resulting in a surplus of employment opportunities for Bahamian engineers and other construction professionals.
“Since the Government of The Bahamas pledges to ensure meaningful participation of Bahamians in all projects to the greatest extent possible, we ask that you do your part in ensuring that you are registered with the Professional Engineers Board and are in full compliance with all aspects of the Engineers Act. I also encourage all members of this inaugural board of the Northern Branch to ensure that high standards are upheld and the quality of your work is never compromised,” Mr. Darville stated.
He reminded the gathering that the growth and infrastructural development of the country and island is directly related to the technical expertise of scientists and engineers.
“The revitalisation of Grand Bahama, which is the industrial centre of The Bahamas, particularly depends on our local body of engineers and technical experts who must lead the way in the modernisation, technological and industrial expansion on Grand Bahama.
“We are all aware that the high cost of electricity and our demand for fossil fuels in both the transport and energy sectors must be addressed as part of our developmental plan for the entire country.“In this sense, the engineering society and The Ministry of Grand Bahama are tied at the hip joint and must work together as a team to ensure that new innovative policies are established. All of the stake holders must play a pivotal role in the future growth and development of the entire island of Grand Bahama,” he said.
The Minister assured all that there will be a surge in the demand for professional Bahamian engineers as they are in the process of securing a number of investment projects that will undoubtedly revitalise the economy of Grand Bahama.
He added that Ministry for Grand Bahama is committed to protecting the rights of Bahamian professionals and to heightening awareness for the profession, which will play a critical role in creating structures and technologies to sustain a decent quality of life for future generations on Grand Bahama.
“As engineers, we certainly must play a major role in the way forward as we move from a developing to a developed country. Therefore, as engineers attached to this branch, you must partner with the Ministry of Laboru, moving forward, to ensure that when these projects come on stream, you are positioned to be a part of the economic benefit and the transference of knowledge,” the Minister said.

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