PM: Gov’t working to get Abaco Port to intl. standard

PM: Gov’t working to get Abaco Port to intl. standard

RVs for gov’t workers in place by next weekend

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Amid security concerns surrounding operations at Abaco’s port, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed yesterday efforts to clear the port and ensure it meets international standards.

The prime minister stressed efforts to restore normalcy to Abaco were ongoing, adding the public “must not feel that everything will be solved in one year”.

“We are working on the port in Abaco, that’s being cleared now,” Minnis told reporters following the investiture of National Honours at Government House.

“We’re hoping to have that cleared by Wednesday so that we can meet all of the international standards, to have containers that are for Abaco come directly to Abaco.”

Minnis said: “I will enter discussion with NEMA so as to establish some sort of storage facility there, near the temporary defense force base, so you’ll have complete security and monitoring of supplies and equipment.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

“I think we will have a better distribution there, as opposed to being shipped to Nassau and then there. We‘ll do the same thing with respect to Grand Bahama, so that they can go directly to those areas.”

Abaco Chamber of Commerce Director Krista Albury reiterated private sector concerns over security at the island’s port last week, describing what she called a ‘mad dash’ to secure shipments.

Algernon Cargill, redevelopment coordinator for the island, who defended the operations at the port, had previously maintained the chaos being described was an exaggeration.

“This takes time,” Minnis said yesterday, “but we will report to you regularly as to the progress, timelines, etc.”

The government has announced it will spend approximately $6.4 million for a temporary facility to house displaced Hurricane Dorian victims near Spring City, Abaco.

In a communication to Parliament last week, Minnis revealed the government will acquire 100 RV trailers to house government personnel assisting with recovery efforts.

He told reporters yesterday those trailers will be on the ground by next weekend.

“We should have at least 100 of the RVs in place, so that government staff can return to Abaco and put the proper government structure in place, and once we pass the authority bill, that will give more teeth to the authority now, removing all of the government obstructed bureaucracy  so that things can be done very quickly,” Minnis said.

The prime minister said he will be visiting Abaco this week to check in on those recovery efforts.

He said: “As they set up the RVs, I’ve discussed with NEMA, so that one of the RVs in the particular facility will accommodate the prime minister and the minister of state with responsibility, and other ministers who may come down to ensure that everything [is moving].”

Minnis added: “But we will remain very, very focused on both Abaco and Grand Bahama and we’re comfortable with how it’s going”.