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Hutchison Whampoa, not likely to restore GB Airport areas

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It’s likely to be the same situation that resulted following Hurricane Matthew three years ago.

It is our understanding that Hutchison Whampoa received some $80 million in insurance settlement for Memories Hotel, but, did not show any clear indication at any time in rebuilding and reopening that resort, or and the Grand Lucayan Complex. The Government of The Bahamas had to finally give in and buy the properties for $65 million.

We fear that the people of Grand Bahama will be treated the same way again. There has been absolutely no clear word from Hutchison regarding its intention with the Grand Bahama International Airport which was devastated by Hurricane Dorian in early September.

The domestic and international sections have been damaged to the point of being unfit for operation. Whereas Western Air rebounded quickly and mobilized not too long after the storm left these shores on September 3, the buildings owned by Hutchison and the

Grand Bahama Port Authority have not been restored.

Subsequently, after a lengthy delay, it was decided to renovate the old Fixed Based Operations building, once used for private planes only. No meaningful attention had been given to the other buildings, when we recently checked. The scent of mold, and decay was heavy in the air when we investigated.

This in itself is an indictment.

At the very least, whether there is the intent, or not, to put the buildings back in service, the conditions they were left in by Hurricane Dorian should have been addressed weeks ago. We are now into the third full month since Dorian.

Grand Bahamians expect more from the co-owners of the Grand Bahama International Airport, and rightly so. The airport is very important to this island.

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We have been told that the final signings of deals for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan Complex, by Royal Caribbean/ITM Group; and Carnival for the new cruise port at Sharp Rock Point in East Grand Bahama, hinge on the fullness of the services the GB International Airport will provide.

Presently the American Visa Clearance is not available at the GB International Airport. This has long been a special feature for Grand Bahama. Tourists and locals could fly directly out of Grand Bahama, utilizing the clearance facility provided by the Americans. It makes for much easier travelling, and gives the island a higher market value, one much more attractive to visitors.

The Americans will not return with the same service until the GB International is up to the standard required, fully in line with what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States Department of Transportation dictates.

So, unfortunately it is looking like the Bahamian taxpayers will be hit again for millions and millions of dollars.

To be able to make certain that Royal Caribbean/ITM and Carnival Cruise Lines are comfortable enough to sign the pending deals, the Government of The Bahamas has to see to it that the Grand Bahama International Airport is such, that it can be marketed by the proposed investors.

This is indeed, a sad state of affairs.

This is the reality though, that we are confronted with.

How will our government deal with this urgent matter?

The post Hutchison Whampoa, not likely to restore GB Airport areas appeared first on The Freeport News.

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