Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Pictured: Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwasi Thompson addresses a press conference at Pelican Bay resort, October 16, 2017, to announce dates and plans for the upcoming Technology Summit, to be held in Grand Bahama November 9-10, 2017. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)
Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwasi Thompson says he plans to make Grand Bahama the centre of a technology hub in The Bahamas.
“The technology industry can become a third pillar of our economy,” said Minister Thompson. “And that can begin right here in Grand Bahama. For years, we in Grand Bahama have been searching for industries which can diversify our economy and today is a very important step in that process.”
The Minister of State for Grand Bahama noted that the information and communication technology industry has also caught the eye of Caribbean countries. He referenced an article in Caribbean Journal that stated “the culmination of the Caribbean and technology is really ideal” and it ranked The Bahamas as one of 13 top locations for potential tech hubs.
“The Bahamas is really well positioned by our proximity to the US,” Minister Thompson pointed out. “We have the infrastructure through our fibre optic cable. We also have the skilled Bahamians – some at home and some abroad to make it all possible.”
In giving credence to his call for Grand Bahama to become the tech hub for the entire Bahamas, Minister Thompson pointed out the fact that Grand Bahama is located closer to the US than Nassau – has better infrastructure than most of the other islands, and access to acres of cheap, available land.
“We are also well-positioned with the Grand Bahama Shipyard and the Freeport Container Port,” added Minister Thompson. “Both of these facilities are leaders in the region, and even in the world, and can facilitate technology subsidiary businesses. Technology manufacturing businesses can take advantage of concessions we already have in the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.”
“So Grand Bahama is ready for a shift in industry focus, and technology is the natural evolution from our industrial nature. We need an economic system upgrade.”
He continued: “It will require a focused plan, the support of local stakeholders, community involvement and a government with the will to make it happen.”
“We will require changes in our legislation, special tax incentives, business license exemptions and even concessions that will attract data centres and major technology manufacturers. We need to have important conversations on internet exchange points to be able to attract and protect company data.”
“We must create an environment with local entrepreneurs and innovators, where they can flourish alongside companies from abroad.”
“If you are a major international tech company, we want you in Grand Bahama. If you are a Bahamian and you want to set up a Tech company, we want you in Grand Bahama. This Tech Summit in Grand Bahama is a call to all industry stakeholders locally and internationally, so that we can continue this dialogue in Grand Bahama on how we will shape the policy for Grand Bahama.”