During the budget debate in June, North Abaco Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary Renardo Curry said that Abaco “continues to experience aggressive advancements”, noting that over 190 new businesses have been licensed between January and May of this year.
The North Abaco MP said that the Island of Abaco is one of the fastest growing islands in The Bahamas, “like Bimini which is the leading island as it relates to development, Abaco, similar to Exuma and Eleuthera, continues to experience aggressive advancements especially in the area of Foreign Direct Investments and small & medium size businesses.
Mr. Curry said that the economy of Abaco continues to thrive as statistics for 2014 show business license collections at slightly over $4 million while real property tax collection was about $5,647,583. He added that the Inland Revenue unit in Abaco registered 269 new businesses for the year 2014.
He said that during the period of January through May 2015, “we have already seen the collections of over $4 million dollars in business license fees and over $3 million in Real property tax, and for this period some 194 new businesses have opened, which proves, Mr. Speaker, that growth exists.”
Mr. Curry also noted that the second home-owners market has expanded to well over 2000 registered homes. He said that with the expansion of Bakers bay and the expected expansion of the Abaco Club at Winding Bay “our construction industry is anticipated to continue to do well.”
He thanked the government for extending the duty-free exemptions to Abaco, among other family islands, which is expected to go a long way in assisting repairs to homes and businesses and “residents are very encouraged by these exemptions.”
Mr. Curry highlighted some of the infrastructural projects taking place on the island, including the completed Marsh Harbour International Airport Terminal building. He said that the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glenys Hanna-Martin, and her Ministry has “worked tirelessly to bring this new facility to international compliance standards, and I am confident that with the governments push to foster Public Private Partnership we will be able to not only extend the run way for the Marsh Harbour Airport, but also build a new terminal for the Treasure Cay Airport.”
Additionally he noted that the mini hospital is an “extremely important project that was initiated under the previous Administration but left incomplete.” He said that there have been a number of technical and financial challenges that has hindered the opening of this new health facility but “I am advised that the facility is more than 95% complete and the Minister and his Ministry is working assiduously to ensure an opening soon.”
Mr. Curry said that road construction is now in its second phase. “Under the first phase we completed the road works from the Marsh Harbour Airport to the public beach at the ferry dock at the Crossing in Marsh Harbour.”
“The Simmons group, that continues to do an excellent job, has completed some 80 percent of the road works in the Dundas and Murphy Town communities.”
Mr. Curry expressed thanks to the Ministry of Education as “already the people of North Abaco have felt the Minister’s work with the implementation of a pre-school in the Fox Town Community and looking at the faces of those children and their parents during the opening ceremony, tells the story of the success already achieved.”
He said that in response to discussions he has engaged in with the Minister of Education, Jerome Fitzgerald, relating to the establishment of a warranted technical vocational institute on Abaco, the Prime Minister, Perry Christie, has already begun discussions with Bakers Bay with hopes of offering on the job training in conjunction with the National Training Agency.
Mr. Curry said it is his hope that the first phase of this sporting complex project will commence in July as the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture finalize plans.
“Abaco, outside of Grand Bahama, has been chosen to be the first to receive such a facility,” he said while noting that “sports have often been used by both government and civic society to resolve human conflicts while promoting unity.”
He continued, “some of the positive lifelong skills that develop through sports are good character, discipline and the spirit of teamwork. Sports no doubt has created countless of opportunities for our young people to acquire a college education via scholarships, while others have gone on to become professional athletes like our very own golden girls and boys.”