NASSAU, Bahamas, Thursday, October 18, 2012 – A proposed joint venture between the Bahamas and Brazil to build an ethanol plant on Grand Bahama could result not only in national energy savings but the creation of over 3,000 jobs.
This was revealed recently by Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder as he spoke to the media during a Trade in Services Workshop.
“We spoke to one of the largest ethanol producers in Brazil and they have such a high consumption of ethanol they have to look for export markets. They need to look in other jurisdictions. I propose again, Grand Bahama, because of the container port that’s there, and the closeness to Andros – you may be able to utilize the sugar cane. Now their estimates were 3,000 to 4,000 jobs that can come out of that one initiative,” Pinder said.
“So we’re activity looking to see if our soil quality is good enough to meet the standards to grow the sugar cane and all of the technical components to be able to say The Bahamas is a good access point for North America,” he added.
The minister said there are several opportunities to do business with countries in Latin America and Brazil. Pinder travelled to Brazil recently seeking investment opportunities for The Bahamas and he further revealed that he plans to go on a follow-up trip early next year with officials from the Port Authority to further the discussions regarding the development of an ethanol plant.
He categorized this as all part of government’s plan to position Freeport as a key trading hub for Latin America and Brazil.
“When I was in Brazil I spoke to the poultry association but I spoke to them in the context of using The Bahamas as a trade hub rather than domestic production, and that could produce a number of jobs and opportunities in Grand Bahama,” he said.
“The opportunities are very great. But you have to be very aggressive and you have to do your homework and be able to present your proposals. Gone are the days when people say ‘let’s go to The Bahamas and do business’. The reality is you have to go out and get the business.”
Pinder added that the government is also in talks with North American and European officials for additional opportunities.
Pinder said he will travel to Brussels, Belgium later this month in a bid to seek out investment opportunities for the country.
“Those are the keen markets that I see us being able to advance and flourish. You don’t really want to really spread yourselves overly thin grasping at straws in certain jurisdictions,” he said.