A recent – Tuesday, December 3 – front page article in The Nassau Guardian highlighting the reported high unemployment numbers in Grand Bahama with emphasis on West End “having the highest proportion of unemployment,” is no surprise to West Grand Bahama and Bimini Member of Parliament Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe.
According to the article, which took figures from a Department of Social Services’ report ‘Post-Hurricane Social Trends in Grand Bahama,’ nearly 50 percent of the people on Grand Bahama are unemployed post-Hurricane Dorian. Detailing the island’s situation as of November 5, 2019, the assessment found that in Freeport, 47 percent of the residents are unemployed; in East Grand Bahama 48 percent and in West End 60 percent.
However, Parker-Edgecombe said, “For years, the city of Freeport has served as a major hub for employment for the residents of the West and because of its current condition, in which numerous businesses are now experiencing setbacks, a recent social report indicating that West End has a 60 percent unemployment rate while very discouraging, is not a surprise.”
She added that in recent years, the community of West Grand Bahama has suffered much due to storms, the most recent being Hurricane Dorian.
Parker-Edgecombe noted that West Grand Bahama and Bimini continues to feel the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, and storm priors, months after its landing.
“The impact of the severe weather system can be seen in major infrastructural and property damage. As the government and other stakeholders continue to put in place measures to assist in the restoration and rebuilding efforts of Grand Bahama and its economy, partnerships and focused attention on specific areas is necessary,” stated the MP.
Parker-Edgecombe said that the recent report, ‘Post-Hurricane: Social Trends in Grand Bahama’ by Social Services, brought to the forefront the unwelcomed results of what occurs following major storms such as Dorian.
“As the representative for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, I wish to assure all constituents that efforts to bring our community much-needed economic growth remains a priority.
“We are hopeful that current projects underway such as the Junior High School in Holmes Rock and the Administrative Complex in Pinedale, Eight Mile Rock, will sooner than later be completed.
“It is viewed that these projects will assist in putting a dent in the unemployment numbers that we are currently faced with. This, along with an increase in entrepreneurial ventures, infrastructural upgrades and both domestic and foreign investment is needed to move the community forward. Our community continues to call for the occurrence of all, while taking necessary steps to make it happen,” Parker-Edgecombe said.
Back in October of this year Parker-Edgecombe and principals of Bella Vista Resort and Marina hosted a Town Meeting to share details of the proposed $60 million project for West Grand Bahama.
At the time of the meeting, Thursday, October 24, Washington Development Co. President, Fred Azimi noted that the project is expected to create for over 200 permanent jobs.
Azimi estimated that the four phase project process will take up to six-to-eight years to complete.
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