Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Renewal, Philip Brave Davis, who met with the China Harbour Company concerning the proposed North Abaco Port on July 5, said that work on the port is expected to begin soon.
The project, initially proposed under the former administration, was signed with the China Harbour Company and included a container port to be located near Cooper’s Town as well as replacing the thoroughfare between Great Abaco and Little Abaco with a bridge and restoring the natural flow of water that used to exist there. The project was expected to cost $40 million which was to be borrowed from China Exim Bank.
Mr. Davis said “we understand governance and we don’t govern to feed our ego – we govern to ensure that the best is delivered to the people of The Bahamas. The port in North Abaco is going forward. The challenge has been that issues attendant to it being started were not in place.”
He said the government did a revue on the internal rate of return (a rate of return used in capital budgeting to measure and compare the profitability of investments) on the project and found that there had been an assessment done on the development of the port but no similar assessment was done on the bridge to connect Little Abaco.
“It was recognized on review that the rate of return with respect to the North Abaco Bridge did not warrant the cost of the project at this time. But the port was assessed and is ready to go forward,” he said.
Mr. Davis said that they have been working with the Chinese the last six months and that this meeting with China Harbour Company is to “ensure that Abaconians play an important and integral part of that construction in North Abaco.”
“I don’t expect nor want to see a disproportionate number of workers from the orient here when I compare it with the local Abaconians who are here and who are indeed capable to fulfill the works that is necessary,” he said.
According to Mr. Davis the China Harbour Company was receptive to the ensuring Abaconians are given the opportunity to work.
“I think they appreciate that they are working in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and that the government is concerned with the high level of unemployment in our country and that there is a necessity for them to be receptive the requests that we make,” he said.
He said “We know what is necessary for our people and this is an arrangement that has to be taken into account.”