Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, led a delegation of cabinet ministers and officials to view the new terminal on Wednesday, May 25 to view what he called a ‘major accomplishment’ for the people of Abaco.
Mr. Christie expressed gratitude to all who participated in project, including the former Ingraham Administration. “Let me first indicate my satisfaction on coming here in this building and seeing this edifice for the first time,” said Mr. Christie. “It has been, not without controversy and political commentary as to the efficacy of the building. I’m so happy that those who have come here to make it habitable and functional, have done an excellent job in doing so.”
He said he was “particularly pleased” that the representative for Central and South Abaco, Edison Key, joined the delegation.
“Mr. Edison Key has played a part in Abaco and all the buildings of these airports and air terminals, so I am especially pleased that he has joined us,” he said. “I know that this a pleasant day for him, moving forward because he has been a defining member of parliament for a long time. I wish to congratulate him. I wish to acknowledge the role the former government played in bringing this about and to indicate that on the journey to this point, that many hands have been to the wheel.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development, Philip Davis, said the completion of the terminal was the result of “great teamwork.” Mr. Davis thanked the travelling public and tourists for their patience while the terminal was being constructed. “This year, the investment by Public Works was in the tune of some $38 million to get this to where this is today,” he said. “I would like to thank the team at the Ministry of Works, led by Permanent Secretary, Mr. Collin Higgs, Director of Public Works, Mr. John Canton, Deputy Director, Mr. Caldwell Pratt, who assiduously moved to ensure that this edifice was completed and met international standards.”
Thanking all persons involved in bringing the airport to fruition was Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin.
“Workers have put in tremendous effort to make this happen. This is an important day because we made a commitment to make this happen. We have worked diligently to make this happen and this is just the beginning because we are looking at airports nation-wide,” said Mrs. Hanna-Martin. “This is how you jump start local economies in our communities and Abaco is such an important economy in our community.”
Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe, was also present for the viewing of the new terminal. He said that the terminal would further boost the tourism industry.
“This is a new phase in our growth and development and as the Prime Minister pointed out in his budget speech today, we are in economic revival and we are in a revolutionary age where we see new growth and development throughout The Bahamas. It is not just New Providence or Grand Bahama but also Abaco, which is fundamental in our development. So this is a major stride for the country’s tourism industry.”
Chief Project Architect of the terminal, Mr. Donald Dean, said that the style of the airport is “typical” Abaco architecture with hardy planks and coral stones combined with traditional materials. He said that attention was also paid to the link between the airport and the environment in the use of materials.