Freeport, Grand Bahama - During a brief ceremony staged in the heart of Downtown's Churchill Square, executives of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited, (GBPA), marked the culmination of its 3-phase, 3 year Downtown Turnaround Project (DTP) on Friday past. President Ian Rolle, along with newly appointed Vice Chairman for the GBPA Group, Miss Sarah St. George and Interim President for the Downtown Freeport Business Association, Mr. Wilfred Seymour stood proudly as they unveiled the newly revitalized Sir Winston Churchill bust, followed by a tour and opening of GBPA's new Bahamian Shopping Village within the Churchill Square.
"The Downtown Turnaround Project was a major component of our ‘Making It Happen' initiative'," stated Rolle as he addressed his audience of government officials, business owners and shoppers assembled at the event. "Today marks the culmination of this momentous project with the official opening of Churchill Square. In keeping with our promise to revitalize the Downtown area, this initiative has created a safer and more attractive commercial centre for all, residents and tourists alike," Rolle continued.
Following the unveiling of the Sir Winston Churchill bust, executives led by Segway Patrol Officers toured the new ‘Bahamian Shopping Village', which is hailed as the tourism highlight for the Downtown area. The Bahamian Shopping Village, consist of 4 brightly coloured Kiosks, (4 more soon to be added) for the sale of ‘Authentic' handmade Bahamian crafts. Creatively designed wares such as handcrafted straw handbags, wood carvings, sea and conch shell sculptures, and handmade body products, were beautifully displayed by vendors.
Mrs. Nakira Wilchcombe, Chairperson for the DTP and Environmental Manager for GBPA, shared the project has truly transformed the City's centre. "This has truly been an amazing project," she said. "From beginning to end, it was a partnership between GBPA, the building owners, Downtown businesses and local contractors that has produced such a visually impressive product. We are all very pleased," Wilchcombe stated.
Vendors and numerous Downtown businesses commented that the DTP was an impressive initiative by GBPA to revitalize the City's centre. Additionally, all were pleased with the overall look of the area and the new Churchill Square. As the summer months draw near, vendors are hopeful to benefit from the many activities scheduled to be hosted there, beginning with the ‘Rush for Peace' Junkanoo Festival.
President Rolle and the executive team took time to visit each of the Kiosks. Commenting on the talents and entrepreneurial spirit of Grand Bahamians, GBPA Vice President, Mrs. Ginger Moxey shared that the Bahamian Village provided an ideal opportunity for driving tourism activities within the Downtown area.
"Whenever you travel, you want to see the heart and centre of activity or commerce for that destination......... for visitors coming to Grand Bahama Island it's no different; they want to see our City's centre," Moxey stated. "From inception of the Downtown project, our aim for the area was to reflect a centre for commerce, culture and social or leisurely enjoyment and I think we have accomplished that." She explained.
Contractors for the DTP included: Austin Outdoors, Care Maintenance, Smith's Construction, Frank Miller & Sons, Frecon, Sanitation Services, Quality Construction, All Class Construction, Rule Construction, Lucayan Rock, Independent Consultants - Everette Stubbs & Cory Adderley and West Construction.