Minister: Plans For Large Projects Progressing


The Ministry of Public Works is pushing forward with approvals for several large-scale infrastructure projects slated to begin soon, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said Friday.

Bannister, who was speaking at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) annual general meeting, said those plans are progressing well and include projects that have been in the pipeline since the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was in office. Other projects have been long anticipated, but government and private entities have remained mum on those deals.

One such highly anticipated project mentioned by Bannister is the construction of a new U.S. Embassy on a site downtown that will include the old Jones Communications building on East Street.

The U.S. mission in The Bahamas announced more than two years ago that it will be moving its offices from Queen Street to the new site. Despite this, not much has been said about the project since.

Bannister also mentioned that the old Independence Shopping Centre on the East West Highway is scheduled to be repurposed.

The former PLP administration earmarked that property to become the new General Post Office and had begun a public/private partnership to construct the building. Despite this, the idea was scrapped when the Free National Movement came to power.

The new administration has now chosen the site of the old Phil’s Food Service on Gladstone Road as the future site of the General Post Office. The old General Post Office Building on East Hill Street has been condemned.

According to the works minister, several government buildings will either be sold or demolished.

Bannister said it is possible the government will sell the Rodney E. Bain Building, while tenders are set to go out to demolish the Clarence A. Bain Building so that the site can be turned over to The University of The Bahamas.

He said plans for the construction of a new Central Bank; the redevelopment of the Southern Recreation Grounds; the redevelopment of Clifford Park as a family friendly recreational site; the construction of a new school on Carmichael Road, and the development of a new office building at the site of the old City Market on Market Street to house government entities, are all progressing.

Bannister said projects on the Family Islands are also slated to begin. One of the first projects, he said, is a new airport for the Berry Islands. Exuma and North Eleuthera are also scheduled to have new airports constructed.

He said the Ministry of Works is in the process of putting out tenders for paving of the road that leads to the Columbus Monument on Long Island. In addition, engineering studies have been initiated for the construction of a new bridge to replace the Glass Window Bridge.

Bannister added that new bridges have also been commissioned to connect Spanish Wells and Russell Island, and Little Exuma and Great Exuma. Also, there are three bridges in the pipeline for Andros, as well as a new Newtons Cay Bridge for Long Island.

By Chester Robards
Published in The Nassau Guardian
August 7, 2018

Caption: Clarence A. Bain building. Torrell Glinton