According to North Abaco Member of Parliament Renardo Curry, Abaco has a number of ongoing, and soon to be completed infrastructure projects that will enhance Abaco and provide employment in the near future.
Mr. Curry said that despite some challenges and stoppages, work on several projects will continue with some coming to completion soon.
He said that while Marsh Harbour’s roads are completed, road works which are supposed to take place in Murphy Town and Dundas Town, while started, have faced delays.
He said that they are “just waiting on some final changes to the work order and approvals from the Ministry of Works; which I understand cabinet has approved.” He said he expects work to begin in January if not before.
He noted that on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Renewal, Philip Brave Davis’ last visit to Green Turtle Cay he viewed the work there and they will soon be getting road work done there as well.
Mr. Curry said that the Mini-Hospital building is completed but the “funding is still a challenge as far as furnishing and equipment.” He noted that the National Insurance Board (who is responsible for the building) will be putting the landscaping to tender for bids soon.
He said that he has been informed that near the beginning of the year the funds to be able to furnish, equip and staff it will be in place.
“I have been working very hard to make sure a number of Abaconians are involved in the hospital; those that are qualified, especially in the medical area. We have been pushing their applications forward for consideration and we have been assured by the government that they will use as many Abaconians as possible,” he said.
Mr. Curry noted that the airport will soon be putting shop spaces up for a bidding process and he has been “agitating to ensure Abaconians are able to get in there.” He said “We have a history of good entrepreneurs who have proven successful over the years and we need to have first preference.”
Mr. Curry noted that on a recent visit in which Prime Minister Perry Christie visited with Baker’s Bay he spoke with them concerning the sporting complex in Abaco. He said it is expected to be a private/public partnership as they expect ground to be broken early next year.
He said “all the preliminary work is done and we are looking to get that going early part of next year. We are really looking forward to that. There are some things we have been talking about like the Abaco Games involving a variety of different sports, which will help us prepare for the upcoming Bahamas Games. We can produce the best of the best through competition right here in Abaco.”
New Officer In Charge
Mr. Curry said the “social aspect of any country is important as it helps to spur economic activities, and that is why crime is an issue in the country, because it is a social ill, and we have to get it under control. It’s getting out of hand in Nassau and we don’t need that to overspill into the family islands.”
He said that there will be a number of community meetings with the new superintendent of police, Kevin Mortimer, “so that he can be brought up to date and hear from the communities to get a better understanding on the ground of what challenges he will face.”
Immigration and Housing
He complimented the local Immigration Departments and applauded the direction of the Immigration Minister, Fred Mitchell, in ensuring that the laws of the land are obeyed.
He asked that “all of our brothers and sisters who are of Haitian descent comply with the law, and seek to get themselves regularized by obeying the law and following the procedures.”
He noted that there will be four new housing sites established soon. One will be a low cost housing in the area of old Campbell Town near Spring City. “We are looking at relocating persons who happen to be in shanty towns and are looking for alternatives for them with low cost rentals,” he said. “We can’t leave people homeless, we have to provide people with an alternative.”
Mr. Curry said another site will be in the area of Murphy Town, similar to Central Pines but on a smaller scale, which will introduce some low cost homes and lots. Another site will be on farm road and will be similar to the one at old Campbell’s Town. He said “Of course you would have to have status and it will be available to all Bahamians.”
The fourth site is in Green Turtle Cay and has been spoken of for several years. He said it is the desire of the government to develop a subdivision there locals a place to buy reasonably priced lots.
Mr. Curry said that recently the cease and desist order was raised and “Treasure Sands is moving forward in compliance with regulations under strict guidelines and management.” He said an engineer will be supervising every step of the way.
“The investor has been very compliant to what the government wants and has been very helpful in working with us,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s going to bring jobs and better development for the Treasure Cay area.”
He said he hopes that the owners of Treasure Cay Ltd will invest in the area and help it “realize its full potential”. Present talks with Re:Play (Canadian resort development company) appear to be stalled but Mr. Curry is hopeful that things will progress in the near future.
He noted that the North Abaco Port Project had stopped because the site area they had initially applied for was smaller than what their final plans called for. “It was supposed to be about 35 acres but the site plan covered about 40 acres,” he said.
“The agencies involved are working the issue out and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) are to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) after which it is expected they will move forward quickly.
He also said that he spoke with representatives of CHEC and was assured that “they will do what they said they would do, which is employ locals.”
Mr. Curry indicated that there are “more investors looking to invest in Abaco.” He said that Baker’s Bay is continuing to do well and there is expected to be an announcement from the Prime Minister concerning Winding Bay in December which will be beneficial to Abaco.
Sponsorships and Events
Mr. Curry said he is very grateful for the many companies that work with him in sponsoring various community events and programs and are instrumental to helping so many in the community.
He said there will be a Christmas Festival on the mainland in Central Abaco on December 19 at Murphy Town Park where there will be food and drinks and he hopes a visit from Santa Claus to give out toys to the children; “A fun-filled day for the family.”
He said they will also be visiting Green Turtle Cay on December 11 and Grand Cay on December 12 where they will have a special Christmas celebration with the elderly there and will give out toys for the children.