NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The lack of available skilled labour threatens to hamper the pace of reconstruction on Hurricane Dorian-ravaged Abaco, the island’s Chamber of Commerce president has warned.
Ken Hutton told Eyewitness News a foreign labour component may be necessary, at least temporarily.
“Labour is going to be a critical component of rebuilding Abaco and with the amount of work that needs to be done in Abaco and that with the amount of work needed to be done in construction there aren’t enough workmen in The Bahamas to do what needs to be done in the space of time it needs to be done,” Hutton said on Monday.
“I have said from the very beginning that as the reconstruction efforts ramp up labour is going to be. We are really going to have to be looking at importing a foreign labour component at least temporarily and then the issue is how we do we house them.”
He continued: “Right now the construction crews are taking up all the rental homes so there isn’t anything for families to come back to. We need to look at finding accommodations for labourers be it a a camp or some type of option like that.”
Hutton urged officials to address the issue sooner rather than later.
“It is really becoming an issue,” he said.
“The cost of getting work done is increasing as well as the time frame to get the work done and so people are having to wait. We are just a few months out from the start of the hurricane season again.
“There is a tremendous amount of reconstruction taking place right now. It is happening all over the island. The issue is whether the pace of reconstruction is being hampered by the lack of labour.”