Hogan Lovells Caribbean Desk partners with Caribbean Council for successful business mission to the Bahamas

Hogan Lovells Caribbean Desk partners with Caribbean Council for successful business mission to the Bahamas

Press releases | 08 December 2023

08 December 2023 - Our Caribbean Desk was delighted to serve as the Caribbean Council’s Mission Partner for the first UK business mission to the Bahamas in over two decades.

The Mission began with a Business Briefing, preparing the delegation for what promised to be a busy week of meetings and engagements.

We received a warm welcome to the Bahamas from the British High Commissioner, Mr Tom Hartley, and heard presentations from key public and private sector organisations including the Bahamas Trade Commission, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Financial Services Board. Representatives from each body offered insights into Bahamian regulatory frameworks, investment opportunities, and potential challenges. 

International trade and foreign direct investment are strategic priorities for the government, with an emphasis on transformative (rather than piecemeal) investment in the tourism, infrastructure, and healthcare sectors. The Trade Commission is actively seeking investment and engagement from development banks worldwide, with a focus on Africa and the Middle East. 

The legislative agenda in the Bahamas is heavily influenced by the concerns and priorities of the private sector and there is a cross-sector consensus that the developments planned for the islands will take the form of a series of public-private partnerships. Whilst the populations on the family islands are relatively small, the [Ministry of Economic Affairs/the government] is committed to replicating key infrastructure across the archipelago. Climate change resilience and adaptation are also major concerns in the context of expanding infrastructure and services. 

Our agenda included a day trip to the island of Grand Bahama, the second most populous island in the Bahamas. We began our visit with a Business Breakfast hosted by the Board of Directors for the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, whose members represent key sectors on the island including energy, pharmaceuticals, shipping, construction, hospitality, financial services, and insurance. 

In September 2019, 60% of Grand Bahama was submerged in flooding caused by Hurricane Dorian. The island is now eager and open for business and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the island’s development authority, is embracing ambitious and transformative plans for new public infrastructure and private sector investment. In May, ground was broken on a new public hospital and funding has been secured for the $200 million redevelopment of Grand Bahama International Airport. The total value of approved and in-progress investment projects on the island is over $1.5 billion. 

Grand Bahama’s position just 68 miles from the coast of Florida places it at the centre of major international trade routes to and from the Americas. During the afternoon, we were invited to tour Freeport Container Port ("FCP"), a privately owned and operated facility in Freeport’s deep-water harbour that takes full advantage of the island’s prime location. FCP first opened in 1997 and serves as the transhipment hub for the eastern seaboard of the US, with capacity to handle 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units per year. 

Members of the Mission delegation met with key officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister (who also oversees Aviation and Tourism), the Minister for Grand Bahama, the Minister of Public Works, and the Minister for Energy. The various ministers and their teams provided a detailed view of their development plans and the government’s approach to engaging with foreign partners and investors.

This Business Mission was an excellent opportunity for our Caribbean Desk to strengthen ties in the Bahamas. We're excited about future projects in the archipelago and we're committed to working closely with the Caribbean Council to support our clients in navigating the dynamic business landscape of the broader Caribbean. The mission has opened doors for enhanced collaboration, and we look forward to the opportunities it brings for both Hogan Lovells and our clients.

Read more about the Hogan Lovells Caribbean Desk here.