Minister of Parliament for North Abaco, Renardo Curry held a town meeting in Cooper’s Town September 12 to speak on a number of issues including the North Abaco Port which is expected to begin construction as early as December this year.
At the meeting, which was attended by over 150 residents, Mr. Curry spoke about recent budget cuts, particularly to Local Government’s budget, and that he had advocated against it, “but finances are tight due to high debt in the country.”
He also spoke concerning Bahamasair’s suspension of flights to Treasure Cay Airport, something he expects will be temporary, acknowledging that it was a business decision by management. He told the audience that he has been advocating for Bahamasair to return or for another airline to take up the slack.
Mr. Curry said that they are getting closer to closing a deal on the sale of Treasure Cay Hotel Resort and Marina which he believes will create opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurs.
He spoke of a number of possible investments on the drawing board which may be coming soon and encouraged residents to prepare themselves to take advantage of the opportunities these investments would bring.
He indicated that one of the investments was a small scale community project similar to Baker’s Bay and another was a possible auto-parts manufacturing business.
Mr. Curry encouraged them to prepare for these opportunities and noted that Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute (BTVI) will soon be coming to Abaco. He said that BTVI will be assessing Abaco early next year with a view of where to place the Abaco Campus, basing it on where they receive the majority of the interest from.
Mr. Curry said that work on the North Abaco Port is expected to begin in December or possibly January. China Harbour Company is expected to have 70% of their workforce come from Abaco although he said the government is still pushing for an 80% Bahamian workforce. The rest would be Chinese labour.
He again emphasized entrepreneurial opportunities for the people of North Abaco suggesting that they could become suppliers, sell construction materials and more, and that they need to prepare themselves to benefit.
Mr. Curry addressed concerns of the Chinese paying fair value for the skills of those Bahamians employed and assured them that the Bahamian workers would be protected from poor pay.
The original plans for the North Abaco Port indicated a bypass road which would crosses over a number of private properties that would divert heavy traffic coming from the port around Cooper’s Town. Property owners in that area were assured that they would be compensated for the property as Mr. Curry said that they would be either paid or given property at a different location.
Mr. Curry told the audience that elections are over and that party politics need to be cast aside because he is the representative for all North Abaconians; “I’m a son of the soil and I’m on your side.”
Other notable items – Mr. Curry is trying to get/or is getting Crown Lands for Abaco moved to the office of the Prime Minister to be managed here. Far too many people in Abaco wait literally decades to get a response from crown lands on applications meanwhile people in Nassau show up in Abaco – papers in hand – and start clearing down property here to use. He said Crown Lands is a mess and they will have quite a time to sort out ownership of all the crown land in Abaco – they are not sure what is available.