Supporting The Public Sector of The Bahamas
Education is another area the government has identified for PPP investment. The Bahamas Government provides private, secondary and tertiary education. There are 210 primary and secondary schools in the country, with 52 of these being independently or privately operated. The College of The Bahamas, the country’s leading higher education institution, is public as is the Eugene Dupuch Law School, which opened in September 1998 as a part of the University of the West Indies. Up until recently churches and private individuals have been the main non-government contributors to public educational facilities, such as the building of primary and secondary schools. The Government of The Bahamas is increasingly interested in education and vocational training for young people as a means of strengthening the national economy – the infrastructure and facilities for this are thus sought through PPPs. The Private Sector Summer Employment Partnership is a partnership between the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the private sector, offering young people the opportunity to gain work experience over summer.
Health was referred to by Prime Minister Christie as a potential area for PPP investment in his July 2013 conference speech. Public spending on health accounted for only three per cent of GDP in 2012. Organisations such as Rotary International and the National Insurance Board of The Bahamas (NIB) have a legacy of investing in social enterprises in the country. However, this model of investment is something the government is keen to replace, saying ‘it is clear that business opportunities can be formulated in these areas for investors, thereby removing ourselves from the cash-flow constraints of the National Insurance Board’.
Roads: The relatively expansive road network of The Bahamas extends to some 2,700 km, with around 60 per cent of this network being paved. A privately operated bus service currently services the island of New Providence.
Airports: The Bahamas has more than 60 different airports. Publicowned airports have been subject to privately funded improvements in recent years. A key project was the redevelopment of South Birmini Airport, while an Airport Gateway linking the Lynden Pindling International Airport with the Oakes Field area of Nassau was constructed in 2013 through loan funding from the China Export-Import Bank and the China Construction Company.
Ports: The main ports are Nassau (New Providence), Freeport (Grand Bahama) and Matthew Town (Inagua). Nassau Harbor was widely expanded through a PPP to contain larger passenger vessels, while a similar investment model saw an entirely new cargo port constructed outside the City of Nassau.