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GBPA’s BTS Vocalist Competition Pays Off

Downtown Freeport blazed on Friday night as vocalists vied for the grand prize of $1,000.00, during The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited’s (GBPA), “Back to School Vocalist Competition”.  The event marked the third in a series of events planned for every Friday in the month of August, themed “Back to School Family Fridays” (BTS Fridays), promoting GBPA’s BUY Local, SHOP at HOME message. 

“All of the events to-date have been great, and I am excited to see the participation for the Vocalist Competition,” shared Ian Rolle, GBPA President. “The BTS Friday’s initiative has done well for building family friendly entertainment and activities in the city’s center, whilst creating an excellent opportunity for merchants to promote their businesses, improve sales and to connect with new and existing customers,” added Rolle. 

“Our goal is to create economic impact for our Licencees while adding value for consumers. Once we’ve completed a postmortem of the events, we can determine whether to continue them, and how we can improve upon them,” Rolle continued.

The ‘BTS Vocalist Competition’ attracted a significant crowd, as vocalist belted a line-up of unique and spirited performances. None-the-less, Park ‘N’ Shop parking lot became center of attraction as family members and friends gathered to support the performing vocalists, in hopes of their favorite emerging as winner of the evening. 

Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama, noted the event was highly entertaining, one that the Port would like to do again, pending the community feedback. “Tonight’s event was fantastic; the vocalists were amazing….Grand Bahama really has some amazing talent,” cited Newbold. “We had excellent crowd participation and our judges completed a very challenging feat. It was great to see people; (families and individuals) gathered Downtown after dark, enjoying good family centered entertainment. Events like this are common in successful small cities. We would like them to be the norm here as well,” Newbold concluded.

Vocalists were critiqued in groups of threes by a judging panelist comprised Ms. Covena Murphy, proprietor of Allegro School of Music; Mr. Derek Stubbs renowned PR & Promotions Coordinator; Maestro Kevin Tomlinson, founder and Director of the Grand Bahama Youth Choir & Cultural Center and David Wallace, businessman, promoter and former parliamentarian. 

Contestants were judged on musicianship, communication, audience appeal, artistry and overall presentation. The Judges results awarded 3rd place and $300.00 to Sherika Bastian, performing “At Last”; 2nd place and $500.00 to Berlicia Saunders, performing “I Will Always Love You” and 1st place to Ashleigh Stubbs, performing “Listen”.

Business Services Manager for the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB), LaShawn Dames, says the best event happens this Friday in partnership with the Downtown Freeport Business Association (DFBA), at the “Wet & Wild Summer Fest and Downtown Movie Night”.

“We will literally create a mini waterpark in Downtown for the kids!  It’s going to be an amazing event starting at 2:00pm next to the carwash parking lot. Then we’ll wind down with the Drive-in Movie event, featuring the box office hit “Miracles From Heaven” at sundown, in the Park ‘N’ Shop, parking lot.  There will be entertainment for the adults and kids, so come out and make it a family night out Downtown,” she exclaimed.

“The purpose the BTS Friday’s initiatives are to stimulate economic activity for Licencees, while delivering a value based shopping experience for consumers and clean, fun entertainment for families. Throughout August, GBPA and the IGBSBB have hosted quality first rate events Downtown, which continue an excellent trend to assist in sustaining and growing businesses, while encouraging residents to invest in the economy by supporting local merchants,” concluded Dames.

ABOUT GBPA


The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within an area called the 'Port Area' (230 sq. miles). GBPA was mandated by this Agreement to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and required infrastructure for the City.

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GBPA has achieved an astonishing amount since its inception in 1955.  When first created it was a Grand Bahamian business conglomerate charged not only with land and commercial development but also with all the regulatory and administrative functions of the Freeport/Lucaya.

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Firstly, I wish to thank Joan Albury and the Counsellors for this platform enabling us to share with the Grand Bahama community, the outlook for our island! 2015 marks the 60th year of the birth of Freeport and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement; 60 years of a partnership between The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority. I'm here to raise hopes for 2015 and to lay a few popular myths to rest - For those who don't know me, I am Sarah St George.

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