Abaco Chamber of Commerce director says port is unsecured
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – An Abaco Chamber of Commerce representative yesterday reiterated private sector concerns over security at the island’s port in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, describing what she called a ‘mad dash’ to secure shipments.
Krista Albury, an Abaco Chamber of Commerce director, underscored challenges to rebuild and restoration efforts during a press conference to announce a $10 million initiative to assist SMEs affected by Hurricane Dorian.
“Many people want to come back and want to assist with the rebuild however supplies are limited and have to be carefully rationed out to ensure they are getting to the right place,” Albury said.
“At this point there isn’t enough to go around. Many communities in the south and far north as well as the remote cays are not getting supplies.”
She continued: “There is no security at the port and when shipments come in there is a mad dash and no way to ensure the freight goes to who it is intended for.”
Albury noted this was a serious concern within the business community as many did not want to risk losing inventory and equipment brought in for the rebuild and restoration effort.
Earlier this week, Algernon Cargill, redevelopment coordinator for the island defended the operations at the port.
He was asked by Eyewitness News Online to respond to reports of security concerns and “disorganization” at the Abaco Port.
Cargill maintained 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,” Cargill said. “In terms of the port itself, there’s armed forces there. The Royal Bahamas Defense Force guards the port.”
However, Albury maintained yesterday the port still unsecured.
“We do not have the facilities for people to come in and be able to begin restoration projects without living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions,” Albury said.
“Many of our business owners are running into problems with staffing and trying to gather necessary materials to be able start the rebuilding process.”
She continued: “At this point our port is unsecured and we are having issues with international shipments coming into Abaco. We hope that by end of this week we will again be able to receive international shipments.”
Albury said this milestone would greatly aid efforts to jump-start commerce on the island.
She maintained once the port issues are resolved, shipments of food can be received on the island. This would pave the way for the reopening of the grocery store Maxwell’s.
Chad Sawyer, owner of the Maxwell’s and Price Right food stores told Eyewitness News Online that he has his sights set on reopening the Maxwell’s store on November 7.