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South Abaco Development Growth Linked to Stable Economy

February 10th, 2011

Residential and commercial real estate developments in South Abaco have expanded steadily over the past two years. Despite the residual effects of the global economic and financial downturn, The Bahamas’ domestic economic conditions stabilized during 2010, with the economy expected to grow by 2% to 2.5% in 2011, according to Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, in his address to the 2011 Bahamas Business Outlook.

The past year clearly demonstrated South Abaco as an environment favorable to the strengthening and diversification of the nation’s economy:

With 90% of its infrastructure complete, Serenity Point’s environmentally friendly residential community is one of the many success stories of economic growth in South Abaco:

The community is designed for luxury using the latest in sustainable technology, with features such as:

  • Design techniques that save energy and preserve water
  • Solar-powered golf carts
  • Indigenous tropical landscaping

OceanHome Magazine highlighted Serenity Point as a Development of the Month, Publisher’s Choice. And The Bahamas Investor covered Serenity Point’s development as an example of the resurgence currently being enjoyed by Abaco—one of the fastest growing islands in The Bahamas.

With work steadily underway at Serenity Point and the neighbouring commercial center of Schooner Bay Village, the community is looking forward to another year of growth and prosperity in South Abaco.

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Growth and Prosperity in Abaco

September 15th, 2010

Abaco’s growth and prosperity continue to climb in yet another noteworthy series of development milestones.

Airlift acquisition targets Out Islands
Bahamas Tribune
US-based AvStar Aviation is hoping to open up airlift to Abaco from West Palm Beach by year-end, in a bid to expand the operations of recently-acquired Twin Air Calypso, which has serviced the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale for more than 50 years … the new service—frequently travelled by West Palm and Abaco residents—could deliver 100 individuals to Abaco four days per week through scheduled service.

Abaco to get community hospital
The Freeport News
The Ministry of Health is placing greater focus on the medical needs of family island patients and plans to construct two new state-of-the-art community hospitals on Abaco and Exuma. The community hospital on Abaco will make it much easier for residents to gain access to medical care and in many cases, avoid having to travel to New Providence.

Maxwell’s Grocery re-opens in Marsh Harbour
Bahama Islands Info
When the popular Maxwell’s Grocery burned down on the night of July 21st 2008 many wondered if this was the end. But on August 13th a brand-new, sparkling, and spacious Maxwell’s re-opened in Marsh Harbour to rave reviews.

38% Crown Land revenue increase
Bahamas Tribune
“The Parcel Information Management System (PIMS) is fully being implemented and will contribute to the efficient functioning of the local land markets in support of private sector development, including facilitation of foreign investment, thereby contributing directly to the objectives of the bank’s strategy for the Bahamas,” the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said. “Geographic profiles of Andros, Inagua and Abaco represent a good point of departure for land use and natural resources management.”

Travel Off the Cuff – Expect the Unexpected on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island
The Province
Like fly-fishing southern Alberta’s Bow River, flats fishing off Great Abaco, the Bahamas’ third-largest island, is also world class, says avid Calgary fly fisherman Dave Byler … Excellent fishing is just one reason the retired Suncor Energy vice-president and wife Carol decided to invest in emerging Schooner Bay Harbour Village in southern Great Abaco.

Contract signed for architectural design of Marsh Harbour Airport Terminal
Nassau Guardian
Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant signed a $600,000 contract with the Architects Incorporated Company for the architectural design of the Marsh Harbour Airport terminal building and fire/crash facility. The current 3,315 square foot building will be replaced with a new 24,000 square foot single-storey terminal and fire crash facility immediately west of the existing terminal.

Walker’s Cay dream gets green light as Bahamas Investment Authority approves plans
Bahamas Island Info
A multi-million dollar bid to revive the once-famed Walker’s Cay fishing and diving resort, which would create “a minimum” of 200 jobs for Bahamians, has been approved by the Bahamas Investment Authority.

Furniture Plus announces the opening of its beautiful third home in Abaco
Bahama Islands Info
The walls are freshly painted. The furniture boutiques are all in place. Shiny rows of appliances stand at attention. And the doors to the newest Furniture Plus location at Maxwell’s Plaza in Marsh Harbour are open … With all newly-hired Abaconians manning the richly appointed 20,000 square foot showroom and shoppers excitedly streaming in, there is no sign of an economic downturn anywhere to be seen.

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Millions of Dollars of Investment into Abaco

March 11th, 2010

The Nassau Guardian reported that two government contracts have been given the go ahead, which brings into Abaco and Freeport millions of dollars of investment.

For Abaco, that contract is for the construction of a $19.2 million 64,390 sq.ft. government office complex. Almost 300 construction jobs are likely to result from this project which will also create additional spin off jobs in the economy.

Director of the National Insurance Board, Algernon Cargill, which has financed both the Abaco and Freeport projects, said that the developments represented a sound investment by the national fund.

Abaco and Freeport contracts to bring 100s of jobs
Nassau Guardian
Monday Februray 22, 2010
By Scott Armstrong

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham travelled to Marsh Harbour, Abaco, to witness the signing of the contract to build the new National Insurance Board headquarters, part of a wider plan to kickstart the economy of the area.

At that ceremony he said: “We determined to place this new administrative complex on a green site so as to represent the commencement of the development of a new township in Central Abaco.

“We expect that the concentration of government offices, and hence services in this location will spur the development of commerce making the area the principal point of commerce in Central Abaco.”

Read the full article.

In addition to the government administrative complex, space is allocated for the development of other important public facilities including a police and fire station, a community hospital, a court complex and a public library. Plus, commercial space is set aside to accommodate a bank and other commercial facilities and enterprises.

Keeping with Abaco’s sustainable interests, the new township will have ample, open, green space, with areas reserved for passive enjoyment, as well as recreational activities.

“As Abaco’s economy continues to strengthen and grow I expect that persons from around The Bahamas will continue to come to work and live among us here in Abaco,” said the PM.

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Chinese Investors Eye Agriculture in Abaco

March 4th, 2010

A couple of months ago a delegation from China’s Shandong International Economic and Technical Cooperation Corporation and Shandong Hi-Speed Qila Build Group visited Abaco to finalize their plans for large–scale agriculture development on the island.

The Bahamas offers attractive features to the Chinese investors: a stable democratic environment, relief from personal and corporate income taxes, timely repatriation of corporate profits, proximity to the US with extensive air and telecommunications links, and a good pool of skilled professional workers.

The Government of The Bahamas has traditionally focused on foreign investment in tourism and banking, and it recently extended that interest to alternative energy, agricultural, and industrial investments.

The Chinese investment of millions of dollars will help boost production of locally grown produce – a move the government says would see food prices drop dramatically and create high-tech jobs for many Bahamians.

Bahamaislandsinfo.com reported the original story of the Chinese visit and their letter of intent to do large-scale farming in Abaco.

A team of experts from China’s agriculture-based Shandong Province visited Abaco last weekend to take soil and water samples and do further scientific studies to determine the capability of the land. They were hosted by Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) which owns about 10,500 acres of farm land in central and north Abaco.

Abaco has been home to a number of successful fruit and vegetables farms, and further canneries, factories, packing houses and facilities could be developed to complement food production as the project unfolds.

The article continued with a quote by Mr. Jingping of China’s Shandong International Economic and Technical Cooperation Corporation and Shandong Hi-Speed Qila Build Group:

“Abaco land is very beautiful,” said Mr Jingping through an interpreter. “It is beyond my imagination.”

The Chinese delegation visited farm sites, the Big Bird chicken operation, the ports, the proposed craft center and farmers’ market site, and the Treasure Cay Resort.

“We had a fruitful visit,” said Mr Key, the Member of Parliament for South Abaco. “They are talking about a very large project.”

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Investment Incentives for Canadians Buying Luxury Property in the Bahamas

January 28th, 2010

Aerial view of Serenity Point, Schooner Bay Beach

Investing in high-end real estate has become much easier for those Canadians who have cash saved and are interested in taking advantage of the investment incentives offered in the Bahamas.

While there are many luxury properties around the world, the Bahamas is a sound and durable base. The country continues to retain its attractiveness for Canadians, not just in its natural beauty, but in terms of tax planning, in particular the use of testamentary trusts and certain inter vivos trusts that can yield rewards.

Beyond simply owning a second home in the Bahamas, many Canadians choose to conduct some of their business in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas Investor notes:

There are not many tax havens that offer benefits comparable to The Bahamas in terms of flexibility of corporate structure, top-quality accounting and legal services, readily available first-class financial and banking services, proximity to major world markets and good docking and harbour facilities.

Given the current economic state, for Canadians in a position to make an investment in properties, certain regions in the Bahamas offer exceptional value and strong appreciation prospects, with financial analysts anticipating a significant return on investment as the market continues to shift. We recommend seeking the professional advice of experts in tax planning, however, there are several articles that provide an overview of the investment opportunities offered to those buying property in the Bahamas.

A portion of the 2010 edition of the Bahamas Handbook is available online here and covers:

  • Residence: Taxation for individual residents in Canada, non-residents of Canada and corporations.
  • Canadian withholding tax: The basic Canadian withholding tax is 25% and applies to investment income, certain pensions, dividends, non-arm’s-length interest, rent, certain types of royalties, income from a trust and certain other forms of revenue paid by Canadian residents to persons abroad.
  • Special withholding tax exemption: Interest paid by a Canadian resident corporation to arm’s-length non-resident creditors is exempt from Canadian withholding tax.
  • Thin capitalization provisions
  • Bahamas benefits: The modernization and liberalization of the Bahamian company and trust law and the introduction of foundation law now provide a flexibility previously unavailable in The Bahamas. A number of Canadians looking to the Bahamas to conduct some of their business become non-residents of Canada and set up their homes in the Bahamas to suffer no income tax in Canada, except on income from employment in Canada, the profits from business done there, gains from taxable Canadian property or the 25% withholding tax on certain kinds of investment income derived from Canada.
  • Capital gains tax on non-residents
  • Becoming a non-resident of Canada: “Once a former Canadian resident has become a non-resident, he may return to Canada each year for temporary visits without being taxed … Thus, because The Bahamas imposes no income tax of any kind, a non-resident Canadian citizen may reside there with the advantage of paying to Canada only 25% on certain kinds of investment income derived from Canadian sources and no withholding tax on certain kinds of interest.”
  • The exit tax
  • Succession duty and estate tax advantages
  • Corporate uses of The Bahamas by Canadians
  • Foreign affiliates
  • Non-resident trusts: “A non-resident of Canada who has not resided in Canada during the 60-month period preceding the end of a taxation year can establish, by will or gift, a Bahamian resident discretionary trust (NRT) for the benefit of Canadian resident family members, which will escape the application of the income attribution rules governing offshore discretionary trusts … Expert professional advice in this area is essential, but use of Bahamian trusts can pay substantial dividends.”
  • Current attitudes towards tax planning

Read the full article.

Investing in the Bahamas will mean different things to different people so we are unable to offer detailed advice for each scenario, nor are we a substitute for experts in tax planning.

www.flickr.com


While there are many luxury properties in the Bahamas, Abaco, the fastest growing out island, offers serenity, easy access to international destinations, plenty of amenities, and a glorious lifestyle.

For information on Serenity Point:

Gustaf Hernqvist
Senior Sales and Marketing Director – Anco Lands. Ltd.
Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
ABACO – Marsh Harbour Office
East Bay Street
Office: 242-677-5333
Office 2: 786-270-2287
Cell: 242-376-6806

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Chinese Investors Look to Abaco Farmland

January 21st, 2010

From The Abaconian
December 1, 2009
By Navardo Saunders

Abaconian farms promise hi-tech jobs and lower prices to a group of Chinese investors who are seeking help from other nations to meet the demand to feed China’s fast growing population.

A group of Chinese investors has expressed an interest in investing millions of dollars to help boost production of locally grown produce – a move the government says would see food prices drop dramatically and create high-tech jobs for many Bahamians.

After touring several local farms and designated farm sites on November 13 with local officials, led by Edison Key, Executive Director of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, the Chinese said they wish to sign a letter of intent with the government to provide local farmers with the resources they need – including money, manpower and equipment – to increase production of crops.

Speaking through an interpreter, Wang Yujun, General Manager of Shandong Hi-Speed Company Ltd., said to be the largest construction and agricultural firm in China, said during lunch at Treasure Cay Resort he was impressed with the crops that are being harvested despite the limited resources.

abaconina-investors

A delegation of investors from China visited Abaco on November 13 to look into the possibility of developing large scale farming  on Abaco. The group was headed by Wang Yujun, General Manager the largest construction and agricultural business in China, in  the red striped shirt. They are shown taking soil samples that they will take for testing. Standing is Dr. Marikis Alvarez, Bahamian  representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. The group toured several farms in South Abaco and  the abandoned citrus farm in North Abaco.

The letter of intent, mentioned above by Wang Yujun, lead of the Chinese delegation, references the desire to develop extensive farms, supplying equipment, supplies, processing plants, canneries and greenhouses.

Local official Edison Key indicated that the government is interested in partnering with the Chinese to boost production of Bahamian produce in order to slash the country’s annual food importation requirements. The partnership certainly benefits all parties in that the cost of local produce would decrease significantly and the number of hi-tech jobs would increase.

Mr. Key, who once operated a farm, said the goal is to get Abaco to a point where it can feed itself. “We have the land, we have the expertise, now what we’re working on with the Chinese is getting the resources.”

Mr. Ejnar Cornish, Director of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation’s Abaco office (BAIC), who organized and led the Chinese tour, said Abaconians should welcome the Chinese as Bahamians will certainly benefit tremendously through lower produce costs, more jobs, and increased learning opportunities related to the hi-tech job requirements for food processing operations.

Dialogue has continued since the December visit, with groundwork anticipated early this year.

Read the full article (PDF).

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