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GBPA Sparks Interest At Abaco Business Outlook Conference

The annual Abaco Business Outlook Conference (ABO), hosted by The Counsellors Limited (TCL) is known as the premier event of the business year for locals of Abaco. This year’s event would be no different, as scores of business owners from around the country, assembled at the Abaco Beach Resort this past Thursday to hear from prominent community leaders, a forecasted outlook of both challenges and opportunities, for the island’s economy over the next twelve months. 

The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, brought the keynote address, followed by a prominent line-up of local businessmen. However, of significant note on this year’s speaker platform was Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development at The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA). 

According to President of the TCL Group Joan Albury, having the Freeport presenter was a first for the Abaco conference.

“We were pleased to feature GBPA at this year’s event, as it was the first time we would feature a speaker from Freeport on the Abaco Outlook platform,” stated Albury.  “Not only was his presentation informative regarding aspects of doing business in Freeport; it also highlighted Freeport as the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) of The Bahamas, a key fact the many of us as Bahamians don’t realize, nor do we fully understand the benefits it offers.” Albury continued.

While the line-up of presenters spoke specifically to the Abaco economy, its challenges and forecasted opportunities, the Grand Bahama businessman and Port executive focused on how the benefits of Freeport, could be of value to all Bahamian islands.

“Leveraging The Free Trade Zone of The Bahamas For Economic Diversification and Empowerment was the title of my presentation. It spoke to the value and benefits they provide to countries that employ them as mechanism for job creation, investment attraction and economic diversification,” Newbold expressed.

“Freeport is the Free Trade Zone of The Bahamas, and its up to all of us to leverage the opportunities that exist within Freeport for the advancement and betterment of our country,” he concluded.

The 1-Day event catered to dozens of local and national business owners, most of whom expressed great interest in learning more about Freeport. GBPA President, Ian Rolle shared that he is pleased with feedback received as a result of GBPA’s participation at the Abaco Business Outlook event. 

“The Business Outlook events hosted by TCL have a reputable history of assembling the most dynamic platform of industry experts, to share their advice on the economic outlook for the country,” cited Rolle. “Now in its 25th year, TCL events throughout the country, continue to provide sound information giving insight into key areas of our country’s economy; we need this now more than ever, given the state and competitiveness of economies worldwide,” Rolle continued. “The Abaco event was a first for GBPA and indeed an excellent opportunity to further educate the country about Freeport, the ongoing work of GBPA and the many benefits of Freeport as the FTZ of The Bahamas.”


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.



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.



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.