Tourism minister encourages residents of East GB to use Coconut Festival to help establish their economy – Eye Witness News

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper has announced that coconut has become a $14 billion industry worldwide.

He pointed out that coconut water has become a major industry around the world as part of the healthy lifestyle initiative and the bark of the coconut has been used to make jewelry and other souvenirs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper, was the keynote speaker during the official opening ceremonies of the annual Coconut Festival in Pelican Point, on Monday, July 11, 2022. (BIS/Andrew Miller)

“So, with a festival like the Coconut Fest, Pelican Point and East Grand Bahama can establish its own economy,” said Cooper, during the opening ceremonies for the annual Coconut Festival, which was held on Monday, July 11, 2022, as part of the Independence celebrations.

“That’s why festivals like this are important and critical to communities like Pelican Point and other islands throughout The Bahamas. They bring a surge in economic activity. So, festivals like these are good for the residents and visitors alike, because they allow locals to make money from the event and at the same time, it allows visitors who attend these events to sit down and talk to local Bahamians right in their own backyard .”

The deputy prime minister said there is much economic potential in East Grand Bahama, in spite of the tough time the community has been through following the devastation by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Cooper pointed to one of the villas located on the beach where the Festival was being held and noted that the villa is similar to a series of villas located on Ragged island in a small community just like Pelican Point.

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper happily receives a treat from one of the vendors at the Coconut Festival on Monday, July 11, 2022, in Pelican Point as East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson looks on. (BIS/Andrew Miller)

However, I have noted that those villas on Ragged island are booked year-round by visitors from the United States, Canada, and the coldest places in the world – visitors who come to The Bahamas to bonefish and relax.

“The same thing can happen here in Pelican Point and in East Grand Bahama,” said Cooper.

“We would love to see more communities like these develop, grow and sustain their own economy. When that happens, it makes it easier for the residents in the community to earn a better living, start new businesses and improve their economic future.”

Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey takes a minute to make a move on a checkerboard during their tour of a new restaurant in East Grand Bahama called Pelicans on the Beach Restaurant & Bar on Monday, July 11, 2022. (BIS/Andrew Miller)

Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey, who also brought remarks at the Festival, thanked those who helped with preparing the grounds for the festival. She noted that one of the duties of a government is to bring relief to its people and give people a hand up, not a handout.

The Coconut Festival, she noted, does exactly that, as vendors are given the opportunity to set up food, drinks, and souvenir stalls.

Moxey said that a lot of work went into preparing for the festival and much of the burden was borne by the “Beautiful Grand Bahama” crew, an initiative launched by the Ministry of Grand Bahama to bring relief to those who have been unemployed since Hurricane Dorian and for those same individuals to work on projects within their own communities.

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