NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Following reports of security concerns and “disorganization” at the Abaco Port, Algernon Cargill, redevelopment coordinator for the island yesterday defended the operations at the site.
Some residents on the island have complained the site is poorly fenced in and presents “safety hazards”.
Eyewitness News Online was also told non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were operating out of the site and conflicting with routine business.
However, Cargill maintained that it’s just a matter of logistics as the government continues recovery and restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
“It’s not the chaos as it’s described, that’s an exaggeration,” he said.
“In terms of the port itself, there’s armed forces there. The Royal Bahamas Defense Force guards the port. So obviously since the storm we had to send an NGO up there because it was the most convenient place in terms of logistics.
“The World Food Programme is managing logistics for the entire hurricane relief in Abaco…including their own logistics.”
Cargill said: “So when all the supplies come from NEMA etc, it’s the World Food [Programme] that actually distribute these supplies to the various shelters.
“And for security reasons that’s the best place for them to be”.
Cargill confirmed fencing around the property was taken down; however, he said there are plans to put fencing “completely around the port”.
The redevelopment coordinator also hit back at concerns of disorganization at the site, indicating that food distribution for storm victims has been decentralized.
“We have moved the food distribution or collecting food and supplies from the port to the distribution center, so persons don’t need to come to the port to collect anything,” Cargill explained.
“We take them to the various distribution centers in Abaco, so anyone who comes to the port it’s for legitimate port reasons.
“Obviously it will be great for the port to be used exclusively for shipping, but the issue really is that it’s the most central place logistically to have the most efficiency for the NGOs that are providing invaluable services in Abaco.
“It’s not a perfect world but given all the constraints we have in Marsh Harbour, we have to share the resources that we have and the space that we have also.”