The China Harbour Company (CHC) is doing preliminary work on the ground as they get set to build the North Abaco Port just north of Cooper’s Town, possibly breaking ground as early as December.
North Abaco Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary in Abaco’s Office of the Prime Minister, Renardo Curry, said CHC is currently clearing land and survey the area in preparation for construction.
“If not in December, we are looking at having the ground breaking ceremony in early January,” Mr. Curry said. He added that they have been working closely along with CHC during the hiring process to ensure Bahamians are involved and already a number of Abaconians from the area have been hired to assist in the early stages.
He said they will also soon need more heavy machinery operators and he looks forward to their continuing to work with him at the Office of the Prime Minister. “At the end of the day we want to ensure we have as much local contractors as possible employed on the job – we are very adamant about that and we are working with them in that area,” he said.
He said that during the construction of the port CHC would likely hire about 70 to 80 local workers and possibly more at the peak of the work. During a visit in July Mr. Curry was joined by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works, Philip Brave Davis in order to negotiate a better Bahamian to Chinese worker ratio.
Mr. Curry said that CHC is expected to have about 70% of their workforce come from Abaco although he said the government is still pushing for 80% Bahamian workforce.
“Unemployment is high in that area and we are trying to give those people an opportunity to work,” he said.