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Exuma airport has new funding, says DPM

The government has approved funding for the redevelopment of Exuma International Airport, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper revealed on Friday.

Cooper mentioned the new funding for the airport while giving his remarks at a memorial service on Exuma for George Smith, who was a long-time member of Parliament for Exuma and one of the signatories to the Bahamas Constitution.

“ I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues, and Prime Minister Davis,” said Cooper. “This week, we approved new funding for that airport. And hopefully, we will see that work start soon.”

Guardian Business contacted Cooper yesterday for more information on the source of funding, but he said he could not say anything more as yet.

The redevelopment of Exuma’s airport, which started under the previous government and has been at a standstill for many months, is a long-awaited project for an island that has experienced tremendous growth in tourism.

Cooper mentioned during his remarks that Smith was the “architect behind the creation of what is now our international airport”.

While he did not call for the new airport to be named after Smith, he explained that he would not be opposed to the community giving their former member of Parliament that accolade.

“So, I say to you that whether it’s the new George Town Primary School that he attended, or whether it is the George Smith International Airport, whatever it is, I tell you that it will have my full, unequivocal and tangible support,” Cooper said.

In May of 2021 the Free National Movement government broke ground on the development for the new airport, which it said would cost $65 million.

The 60,000-square-foot terminal building, designed by Alexiou and Associates and Stantec International, was to be constructed by Woslee Construction Company at the time.

President of Woslee Construction Ashley Glinton said during that groundbreaking that his company’s contract for the project was $33 million, with a completion schedule of 20 months.

In February, the new government signed a $34.2 million contract with Bahamas Hot Mix Co. Ltd. for airside construction work at Exuma’s airport.

The scope of work included “pavement rehabilitation works for apron, taxiways, and the runway; new taxiway installation, fencing and drainage; lighting and electrical work; navigational aids and runway markings”.

The airside project was funded in part through an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank.