The Hawksbill Creek Agreement
On August 4, 1955 the Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) was signed by the Government of The Bahamas with The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA). This signing gave birth to the city of Freeport.
The HCA gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within the ‘Port Area'. GBPA was mandated to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and the required infrastructure for Freeport
The Bahamas Government, being satisfied with the success of the progress made by GBPA to fulfill all mandates in the 1955 HCA, amended the Agreement in 1960 and 1966 in order to encourage the development of tourism and real estate.
To further invigorate the economy, the Government and GBPA entered into an Agreement in 1993, which extended relief from real property tax until 2015, in consideration of numerous economic and social initiatives to be undertaken by GBPA.
The HCA introduced the second largest economic platform in The Bahamas, caused significant development to Grand Bahama and created great confidence for international investors, as evidenced by the major investments made into the island's economy.
GBPA is primarily owned by Inter-continental Diversified Corporation (IDC) and its function is mainly a regulatory one, having responsibility for Building and Sanitary Codes, Inspection, Environmental Compliance, Town Planning Regulations, Business Licenses, City Management and Maintenance, and Utility Rate Regulations. GBPA is also charged with economic development in the city of Freeport.
City of Freeport
The revenue of GBPA is derived mainly from license fees, services charges and building permit fees. In addition to funding the regulatory administration of the Port Areas, these fees are used for general administration, road maintenance, signage, and landscaping from the boundary of Eight Mile Rock, eastward to the boundary of High Rock. These privately owned subdivisions, within the Port Area, are not included:
- Bahama Terrace
- Hudson Estates
- Maliboo Reef
- North & South Bahamia
- Pine Ridge Estates
- Queens Cove
- Silver Cove
- Royal Bahamia Estates
In addition, The Grand Bahama Development Company has developed numerous subdivisions in the Port Area. The maintenance of these subdivisions is the sole responsibility of private developers.
In order to ensure that the island flourishes and continues to develop, GBPA is committed to promoting Grand Bahama at home and abroad for Bahamian and international investors.
The 1955 HCA designated Freeport the industrial zone of the Bahamas, making it an ideal place for global investment, wonderful vacation experiences and a superb quality of life.
GBPA has focused its marketing efforts on the economic sectors of trade, industry, tourism, real estate, financial services and technology for ongoing investment. GBPA is committed to pursuing investments that are the ‘right fit' for Grand Bahama Island to bring about sustained growth, economic and community development and job creation.
The investment group of companies fully owned by the shareholders of IDC are:
- Freeport Commercial and Industrial Limited
- Carrick Limited
- Bourbon Street Limited
- Grand Bahama Utility Company
- Port Lucaya Resort & Yacht Club
These companies are all licensees of GBPA and enjoy the same benefits under the HCA as other licensees.
Joint Venture Companies
- The Grand Bahama Development Company Limited (jointly-owned and managed by Port Group Limited (PGL) and Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH))
- Freeport Harbour Company Limited (jointly-owned by PGL and HPH and managed by HPH)
- Grand Bahama Airport Company Limited (owned by Freeport Harbour Company Limited which is jointly owned by PGL and HPH and managed by HPH)
- Sea Air Business Centre (jointly-owned by PGL and HPH and managed by HPH)
- Urban Sanitation Limited (jointly-owned by PGL and Veolia Environmental Services Inc. and managed by Veolia Environmental Services Inc.)
- Grand Bahama Shipyard (20% owned by PGL)