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Pm Signs Off On Abaco Project

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers his address on Tuesday night.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers his address on Tuesday night.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

A HEADS of Agreement for a $300m residential resort and marina in South Abaco is to be signed today, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis revealed last night.

Viewed as a project that will aid the economic revival of Abaco, the construction phase alone promises to create 600 jobs, the prime minister said. It is expected to open the door for entrepreneurial opportunities for Abaco residents and other Bahamians in agriculture, fisheries, heritage tourism and many other areas. “I am pleased to announce that the National Economic Council has approved the project for the construction of a five-star residential, resort and marina development in South Abaco,” Dr Minnis said in his first televised national address for the year. “The capital investment is approximately $300m and will help in the reconstruction and revival of Abaco.”

A full size golf course is also a feature of the new residential resort.

“The project is expected to employ approximately 600 people during the construction phase and thereafter. The project will provide a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for Abaconians and Bahamians in a number of areas including: agriculture, fisheries, heritage tourism and many other areas.”

Once completed, the resort will create more visitors for South Abaco. In anticipation of this, the prime minister said government planned to expand and enhance the Sandy Port Airport.

While the signing of such an agreement is a welcomed development for Abaco, the government has come under much criticism over the pace of recovery and clean up efforts.

Dr Minnis also pledged to beef up communication with the public where government had failed to do so.

“If there are aspects of this reconstruction, and rebuilding that we need to improve on, we will take your suggestions,” the prime minister said. “Where we have failed to properly, or regularly communicate with you on ongoing work, we pledge to improve our outreach.

“I understand the frustrations and I assure you, that we are working very hard, to reconstruct public infrastructure, and to aid in the reconstruction of businesses and homes. We remain, the people’s government. We are servants of the people, who elected us to serve.

“As prime minister, I pledge to you the full effort of the government, to restore Abaco, the Abaco Cays, and Grand Bahama.

“We are one Bahamas, one people, one nation. When any part of our Commonwealth is affected, we are all affected. To make our country whole again, we must continue the long, and hard work, to restore, to renew, and to reconstruct the second, and third most vital economic centres of our Bahamas.”

As government directs its focus toward the broader aspects of storm recovery, victims of disaster have needed social and rental assistance along with the purchase of appliances. Dr Minnis outlined how the government has helped victims thus far. 

“The Department of Social Services continues to provide rental assistance to those displaced by the storm. It has assisted some 514 families, and paid out, more than $700,000 to Grand Bahamians.

“Also, appliance assistance continues with some 300 applications, processed to the value of $400,000.

“Unemployment assistance, through the National Insurance Board, provided help to those employees, affected by the temporary closure of businesses after the storm. Over $1.7m in these benefits, has been paid to Grand Bahamians.

“As the minister of social services has advised, the shelter at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium will be deactivated by the end of this month. The shelter at the Bahamas Academy on Wulff Road, will also be deactivated as soon as possible.

“The Department of Social Services, is working with shelter residents, to help them to move in with family members, to transition to rental units, or to relocate to the islands from which they were displaced.”

Ultimately, the government hopes the conditions in the affected islands can return to normal to allow residents to return to their homes.

Dr Minnis said 22 domes are being erected in Spring City, Abaco and more domes are being brought in for individuals who would like to place one on their own land while they rebuild or make major repairs.

He said “quite” a number of people had already called to request domes.

Meanwhile, Bahamas Power and Light is still working to ensure there is complete power supply in Abaco.

A restoration team has been assigned and work is ongoing in Elbow Cay - 60 percent of high voltage overhead work is done and 70 percent of the low voltage systems were replaced.

In Man-O-War Cay, a restoration team was also assigned and poles are being delivered to Guana Cay.

However, in Marsh Harbour and other areas extensive work is needed and continues.

Dr Minnis said; “From Marsh Harbour heading north, a section of 500 poles remains down. A request for proposals is out for this work.

“Treasure Cay, is still not powered up. BPL has to run power from the Green Turtle Cay Ferry Dock, to the entrance of Treasure Cay, in preparation to bring power to the settlement, once work has been completed there.

“An additional 150 solar lights are expected to arrive shortly. They are to be placed in Murphy Town, around Marsh Harbour, out to the airport, and elsewhere in Abaco.”

He continued: “To date approximately 50 solar streetlights, are installed in central Abaco. Despite the progress that is being made, there is still much work to be done, to restore electricity.

“Due to the extensive damage caused by Dorian, areas remain without service, and we are working toward full restoration of electricity to Central Abaco.”

Comments

Porcupine 2 weeks, 2 days ago

We need more golf courses. Progress. High water use and lots of pesticides and herbicides. The fish and conch love that runoff concoction.

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avidreader 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Tell BPL to stop playing games with the people of central Abaco. There are people wanting to move back to the island full time but find themselves handicapped by the lack of a public, reliable electricity supply. A few private generators can only do so much. The challenges are great, nobody can deny that, but BPL should offer some believable explanation for the slow pace of work that is evident to anyone visiting or living on the island.

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sweptaway 2 weeks, 2 days ago

no money except overtime for the few no wire ,no hardware !

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sealice 2 weeks, 2 days ago

You know what Conians don't want you bloody dumbars Minutes.... the Conians don't want another Flucking Golf Course!!!!! And there's no place to live in South Abaco so what we gonna get another dome subdivision for the people? It's the people's time to live in Domes???

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sweptaway 2 weeks, 2 days ago

22 prefab dome in 180 days ! it has to be some kind of record for wasting the people money

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avidreader 2 weeks, 1 day ago

To be fair, there was a large shipment of cable and transformers delivered to BPL in Marsh Harbour on January 29/30th. How many more such shipments are required to complete the work is beyond my ability to say. As for the domes, they are not in one place where you can go to count them. Whether the number contracted for will ever be delivered is subject to speculation. The situation at Abaco is fluid and it is difficult to attain a clear picture of the overall state of affairs. As usual, I end this comment with my usual appeal to BPL to ease the suffering of the Marsh Harbour residential areas by restoring power as soon as possible.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Who's the developer?

Was the land for this development acquired by the developer from the government or a private seller?

What concessions did the government have to grant in the heads of agreement in order for the lucky few on the government's gravy train to get their load of shingles dumped on them?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Highly controversial developer: Tyrsoz Family Holdings and its principal Ronnie Ben-Zur.

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The_Oracle 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Talks the talk, can't seem to walk. A couple troops of boy scouts could do better and faster. Still don't have a Hurricane or NEMA OPERATIONS MANUAL Plenty teeth, no bite. White papers have been submitted after each Hurricane, and round filed. No worries, next time it will be a whole new crew that don't know what to do.

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DDK 2 weeks, 1 day ago

He lies and could not give two hoots about Abaco unless it lines his pockets.

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DDK 2 weeks, 1 day ago

It's The People's Time Minnis and Turnquest. Yours is numbered. You all shafted The People big time this go round. You are worse than your nasty predecessors.

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DDK 2 weeks, 1 day ago

You need to step down and give the Party the opportunity to find some decent leaders, something unheard of in the last fifty years or so. Your greed and incompetence should be an embarrassment to all Bahamians

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Our fellow comrade Abacoians - since last general election day have come to see the prime minister's 'sign-offs' be like bad hurricane weather. It happens all the time. Amazing how 34 elected as reds to the House - are allowing one comrade to brungs all them down with he self?

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concerned799 2 weeks, 1 day ago

If we were ever going to green our power grid wouldn't a rebuilding from a storm be the time to do it and go solar?

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DavidF 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This is crazy. Why does Abaco need another golf course!! Especially being stuck in the very south of the Island.
There is only a limited number of skilled Bahamian construction workers that are more urgently needed to repair and reinstate major areas in Abaco. And this alone will take years. There are 2000 homes in Treasure Cay that need work from total rebuild to refurbish. Why on earth would you permit another new development of expensive properties when so much needs to be spent putting the infrastructure and services back into the existing community island wide. It is almost 6 months and Treasure Cay still does not have electricity, water, sewerage disposal. Get out of Nassau and relocate permanently to Abaco so you see day by day what is really happening.

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