Bimini, Bahamas – The head of Bimini’s Local Government Council says the people of Bimini welcome the Appellant Court’s decision to deny a request for an injunction to halt dredging for the construction of the Port at Resorts World Bimini. According to Local Government Chief Councilor Lloyd Edgecombe, the people of Bimini are pleased with the ruling, and what it will mean for the island.
“There is an old Bahamian saying, don’t mind the noise in the market, it’s the price of the fish that counts,” he said. “We have heard a lot of noise from the outside regarding this project, but no one can appreciate how much this is benefitting the island more than the people of Bimini. We are seeing the creation of more jobs, new businesses are opening, a state-of-the-art airport is being developed; a new hotel is coming; and more people are returning home to work than we have seen in years. To those out there who have been opposing this development to advance their own personal agendas, we don’t need anyone from the outside telling us how we should react to this development because at the end of the day, they have their livelihood to go back to. Just like them, we want to have a good livelihood too, and that is why we support the Resorts World project because we are already seeing how it is benefitting the island. We can only look forward to the good things to come when this development is finished.”
The Port at Resorts World Bimini is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014 and a new luxury Marina hotel is slated to open late in the Fall of 2014. Mr. Edgecombe confirms that the island’s business community is mobilizing to take advantage of the opportunities they will bring.
“Forward-thinking business persons on the island recognize and are preparing to take advantage of the new channels for increased opportunities. We have already taken steps to form our own Chamber of Commerce, which will hopefully be done by next month. Bimini is on the move, and the business community is moving right along with it.”
Under the Sun Water Sports owner Edward Reckley agrees, and is looking to expand his operation in anticipation of the business to come.
“I am preparing for the opportunities I see here,” he said. “The numbers of people who will be coming to Bimini will be beyond what the island is used to, so I’m planning to move water sports on the island to the next level. I’ve also been encouraging other business persons on the island to do the same thing and get out of the gate early, so when the development arrives they will be more than ready to take advantage of it.” Members of Bimini’s religious community are also in support of the project. Pastor Oral Ellis of Born Again Church says he looks at it from an economic stand point.
“I often share the big picture that people miss,” he said. “When you don’t have sustainable economic opportunities, you lose members of your family, which has been happening to us for generations. I have three kids who left here at an early age to get an education and never came back because of a lack of opportunities. The pier and airport expansion will spin off into opportunities that our children will now be able to stay with us longer because their journey for education will be planned for them to come back.”
Pastor Ellis is also pleased that the expansion of the airport will bring more opportunities, and even cut travel costs for Biminites.
“As it is now, if I want to go to New York I have to get a plane here, spend a night in a hotel, then get a connecting flight. In the future, I will be able to get a flight directly from here to New York or Germany, or other places that will come on stream. The same thing applies to the cruise port. I foresee other ships being able to come here. It’s a win, win all around. Unfortunately there must be some sacrifice and the tampering of sea bed is only a small portion of resources that we have that will be touched. When we look at the whole equation, both terminals outweigh by far the negative impacts that might be experienced.”
The island’s business and religious communities are not alone in their optimism. Bimini is beginning to draw its sons and daughters back home in noticeable numbers who had left the island seeking a better way of life. The reverse migration trend is expected to continue in the months ahead. Biminite Anita Harris, who spent 25 years working in New Providence, is now back home and employed as a Gaming Board Inspector.
“All kinds of opportunities are here,” she said. “We’re just happy about what’s happening and we welcome Resorts World Bimini. Even if I hadn’t gotten this job, I would have returned because there are so many opportunities now to make it in Bimini since the resort came. I know of people who have said they will be returning to Bimini to take advantage of the opportunities because there are so many areas of development. And like the Prime Minister said, it’s up to Biminites to take advantage of that.” The Office of the Prime Minister has assigned Jack Thompson to the island to focus on the growing economy and help to prepare residents for the multiple opportunities to come.
“I think it speaks volumes that the Office of the Prime Minister now has a permanent presence on the island”, said Mr. Thompson. “Our intention is to work along with the business community to help them fully prepare for the bonanza of opportunities that lie ahead.”