Private sector driven initiative seeks govt. backing to rebuild Abaco “bigger and better”.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Abaco private sector is seeking to create and fund a long-term strategic plan to build a “new Abaco”.
Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Ken Hutton told Eyewitness News that the response from potential donors to ‘Project Resurrect’ has been overwhelming thus far.
“It all came about few days ago,” Hutton said. “It was a thought and then there were a couple of meetings in Miami. Everything just started to gel from there. The response frankly has been overwhelming.”
He continued, “The ultimate goal is to rebuild Abaco and its commercial centres bigger and better than ever with the most modern techniques and technology. We want to do it right the first time. We are not going back to 30 and 40-year-old technology, power supply and that sort of thing. Hopefully we will have the backing and support of government. It’s a private sector initiative with the business community front and centre, but also with the government’s support.”
A September 13th letter signed by Hutton on behalf of the business community and Abaco private sector, seeking an expression of interest in the initiative, noted that Hurricane Dorian utterly destroyed the main commercial center of Marsh Harbour leaving the city, island and surrounding cays without power, water, buildings, homes, banks, stores, food, fuel and many other basic amenities.
“The town’s ability to function and support business is a critical step in the recovery process,” Hutton wrote. “As the hub of economic activity in Abaco, Marsh Harbour’s destruction has crippled all the surrounding settlements and cays and it is to this end that we as a community seek to support the restart of commercial activity through ‘Project Resurrect’.”
Hutton said the country does not possess the resources or the capacity to rebuild Abaco as quickly as necessary and so, in partnership with the Marsh Harbour Local Government Council and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, the Abaco Chamber of Commerce has launched this private sector initiative to create and fund a long-term strategic plan to rebuild Abaco anew.
“The goal of the ‘Project Resurrect’ is to encourage and create private sector growth either through charitable funds or through expedited commercial approvals and encouraging businesses to restart,” the letter read.
It continued, “This seeks to provide a means for helping a new Abaco by tapping into capital, both intellectual and financial, to study and recommend to the Government of The Bahamas the best, most modern restoration of Abaco and where appropriate, fund that restoration. Additionally, the Initiative will seek to put in place the necessary infrastructure from the beginning that will allow Abaco to flourish into the future. This includes everything from civil planning to construction, temporary housing for workers to providing startup capital and training to qualifying Bahamian small business enterprises. The initiative will work in concert with the Government of The Bahamas, at no cost to the Bahamian citizen, to recreate a world-class destination in Abaco and its surrounding cays.”
According to Hutton, the project will be managed to international standards of accounting and transparency by a team of professionals and report to all relevant authorities and stakeholders. To the extent that funds are raised, they will be controlled by a private sector board of trustees comprised of reputable Abaconians and internationally respected business professionals.