CENTRAL ANDROS – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis officially opened the London Creek Bridge in Central Andros, Friday – part of the natural creek system of Andros that had become blocked because of road construction. London Creek (and also Staniard Creek), Andros, incurred damage because of sedimentation. Structural works have been done to restore general health of the creek system and thereby improve aesthetic and economic benefits. (BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis officially opened the London Creek Bridge in Andros during a special ceremony on Friday, saying the development is just one of many infrastructural projects lined up to better improve the island.
At Friday’s opening ceremony, Dr Minnis explained that it was important for his administration to construct the bridge to help preserve the Andros’ ecosystem after road infrastructure had severely affected the London Creek.
Other creeks also affected include Staniard Creek, with construction for a new bridge in that area already underway.
“There are a number of natural creek ecosystems in Andros which have become blocked due to the construction of roads across them,” Dr Minnis said. “Such blockages cause severe damage to the natural aquatic ecosystem, including increased sedimentation in the creeks, modification of the mangroves and a decrease to the fish larvae export of the lagoon.
“The creeks in Andros that have had the most severe impact include London Creek and Staniard Creek. Because the existing infrastructure is negatively affecting the health of the creeks, works have become necessary. This includes Staniard Creek, where work is currently being undertaken.”
With the completion of the London Creek Bridge, Dr Minnis said it is expected that the move will serve as a catalyst for ecotourism in Andros.
He added: “The London Creek project is important for the surrounding area as it will help to regenerate the natural flora and fauna of the creek system. This will provide a catalyst for ecotourism in Andros by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to have an up-close experience of the beauty of the natural creeks ecosystems in Andros.”
Noting that the government is committed to the full economic development of all Family Islands, Dr Minis also told Androsians that they can expect to see more infrastructural projects being completed in the months ahead.
This includes major repairs to the Red Bays Road, he added.
He said: “I wish to note that there are other infrastructure improvements slated for Andros and I want to say that the government has embarked on an aggressive and progressive five to seven years infrastructural crusade repair and development.
“This is to ensure that every island in The Bahamas will have proper roads, proper light, proper water. Can you imagine Cat Island for the first time is receiving potable water? For each island, proper water, bridges, docks, healthcare facilities and Andros you know that in 2008 we started here, the telemedicine programme which was successful.”
He continued: “I can assure you that we will aggressively move towards expanding and redeveloping our telemedicine programme throughout the Family Islands so you will no longer have to be transported by air ambulance, but you can be seen by the doctor in New Providence without having to leave and if you need radiological investigation or ultrasound, that can likewise be done here and interpreted by the (physician) in Nassau or Grand Bahama.
“… The design is that at the end of seven years, every island in The Bahamas would have all the infrastructure up to par that is necessary so that there will be no difference in quality of care or life between any Family Islands. The entire Bahamas will be equal.”
His comments were echoed by Works Minister Desmond Bannister who told reporters that officials had plans to complete three more bridges in Andros.
Mr Bannister said: “We’re going to open one in Staniard Creek on the 18th of March and then we’re currently designing two bridges. You’ll see them as we go along. The infrastructure for our country has been abandoned for a long time and we are seeking to rejuvenate that infrastructure.”
During Friday's ceremony, Dr Minnis also thanked Androsians for their adherence to the COVID-19 protocols and also urged them to continue practising the health guidelines.
“Androsians, I want to thank you very much for the discipline you are displaying throughout the entire pandemic and have assisted us in keeping this pandemic at a very minimal level here in The Bahamas,” he said.