About The Bahamas
The Bahama islands are a group of about 700 islands, some uninhabited, which lie just South East of Florida. The capital city, Nassau, the site of the seat of government, is situated on the island of New Providence. The Tropic of Cancer runs through the southern islands of the group.
The island of Grand Bahama is situated about 80 miles east of Florida and about 120 miles North of New Providence, so it is not in the “tropics”. The island is about 100 miles long and has a population of approx. 50,000. The main centre of population, is the city of Freeport/Lucaya where most businesses and the main schools are located. Freeport is regarded as being the “second city” of the Bahamas.
The main industry of the Bahamas is tourism, an industry which obviously is affected by the state of the world economies, but especially by the economy in the North American countries.
There are several industrial ventures also on the island, including two oil storage facilities, a large ship repair complex with two large dry docks, a ship container complex, a polymer factory and several smaller businesses.
The population is largely of African origin, but the descendants of Caucasian immigrants from Britain and loyalists who left America during the War of Independence comprise about 10% of the total.
A number of expatriates who have been granted work permits by the Bahamian Government also are employed, mostly by the larger corporations, and there are also a number of expats. who have been long term residents and have been granted citizenship or permanent residence status, plus a number of “snow birds” – residents of the northern US states and Canada – who come south for the winter.
The Bahamas was granted independence from Britain in 1973 and is part of the British Commonwealth.
An enterprise called the Grand Bahama Port Authority was given license to develop a large portion of the island. This has been an ongoing process and the Port Authority has a significant influence over a large part of life on the island. Because there is no income tax in the Bahamas many come to shelter from heavier tax regimes throughout the world. The Government generates revenue through taxation on imports. Nearly all goods incur duty and stamp tax upon entry to the country. Like other Bahamian islands, Grand Bahama is well known for its beaches, turquoise sea and marine life. These can be fully enjoyed throughout the year because of the pleasant climate. The average temperature listed for winter through summer months is 71-82 degrees fahrenheit. In summer, the coastal sea water temperature is 84 degrees. The culture is Caribbean and the Christian heritage is still prominent in society. The Constitution of the Bahamas specifically states that the nation shall adhere to Christian values. Churches are plentiful on the island. Many are Pentecostal in theology and style of worship. The established mainstream churches also have a presence (Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic).