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WORLD EXPO $5 MIL. BILL: OPM defends Bahamas delegation’s travel to Dubai

WORLD EXPO $5 MIL. BILL: OPM defends Bahamas delegation’s travel to Dubai

  • UAE funded $3.4M to cover pavilion, cost of PM delegation

  • Cabinet approved $1M

  • Private Sector funded 500k

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As much as $1 million was approved by Cabinet to support the country’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, UAE, in keeping with Communications Director within the Office of the Prime Minister Latrae Rahming.

In a press release, Rahming underscored the sum is considerably lower than the $1.7 million approved by the previous Minnis administration.

Rahming defended the federal government’s delegation to the worldwide cultural exchange Expo 2020 Dubai, UAE, as a “justified investment”.

He explained Prime Minister Philip Davis departed for the United Arab Emirates yesterday to attend Expo 2020 on the invitation of the Royal Family but to also hold a series of bilateral trade meetings.

Davis’ visit will coincide with the celebration of Bahamas National Day on the Expo on Monday.

Rahming said Davis has arranged several “crucial” meetings to secure key investments with negotiations on two ‘Memoranda of Agreements’ also expected to be conducted before the prime minister returns next Tuesday.

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and a delegation are seen off by Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper and Acting Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander as they head to the Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday, January 14, 2022. (BIS/KEMUEL STUBBS)

The delegation for the expo has been criticized as very large, comprising of Bahamian choirs, bands, musicians and cultural artisans.

  1. Amongst them included a Junkanoo Group, The Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, The Bahamas All-Stars Band and the Shaback Choir, a bunch led by Press Secretary Clint Watson.

“The aim of this event is to display the capability of our country on a cultural side and on a technological side,” he said.

“We consider and we maintain our view that we’re going to present The Bahamas the exposure required on the worldwide stage.

“It’s a justified investment once we give our people exposure on the world stage so people could see the talent.

“If we could produce per capita the biggest amount of athletes and we could produce a Sir Sidney Poitier, we could make a big investment in letting the world see that talent.”

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and the delegation traveled to Dubai yesterday.

Among the many 192 country pavilions, The Bahamas will probably be showcasing the very best in Bahamian culture, music and food from October 2021 to March 2022. 

“The primary floor of the pavilion displays the fantastic thing about Bahamian culture and navigates sustainable futures for the island nation, the second floor’s Embassy for Business is primarily concerned with cultivating opportunities for international investment and partnerships,” Rahming said.

Rahming said the Bahamas pavilion attracted greater than 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 visitors in its first month, with some 10 million more anticipated to follow over the course of the Expo’s six-month run.

Lots of of economic representatives” have expressed interest in doing business in The Bahamas, he said.

He explained the previous FNM administration agreed to support the country’s participation on the expo, which included a public-private partnership with Expo Organizers Janet Johnson, Ambassador Tony Joudi, and Michael Diggiss.

Rahming further noted the support was expressed iIn an April 2019 letter from the Director of Investments of the Bahamas Investment Authority, who recognized the chance to merge trade and investment promotions and to extend foreign direct investment.

“As a part of the FNM government’s support for Bahamian participation within the Expo, former FNM Ministers Ellsworth Johnson, Lanisha Rolle, and Darren Henfield variously made several visits to Dubai, with large delegations in support,” Rahming said.

Rahming said the Expo organizers requested funding from the Davis administration to support each the opening of The Bahamas Pavilion and Bahamas National Day.

“Due to the tens of millions invested so far, so as to be sure that The Bahamas’ fame was protected and promoted, and so as to maintain good relations with the federal government of the UAE, Cabinet agreed to support the country’s presence at Expo as much as a maximum of $1 million. This figure is budgeted to cover expenditure at some stage in Expo.”

Rahming added that the prime minister’s travel and the expo itself are being sponsored by the UAE government, while the federal government bears the prices for Bahamians to participate.

Key meetings for the prime minister in Dubai include:

  •  Khalid Al Mulla (owner of Sheraton Creek, Ritz Carlton, Crowne Plaza, Ramada and Holiday Inn Express hotels; owner of The American Hospital; owner of Almulla Plaza Shopping & Residential Complex)
  • Jetex (owner of one among the largest private aviation firms within the Middle East)
  • Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group
  • The UAE Minister of The Interior
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