Abaco private sector calls for more government engagement on key concerns – Eye Witness News

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Ken Hutton said yesterday that the island’s private sector was not looking for government help, but rather a “helping hand” as he called for greater engagement of the private sector to address issues affecting the island. .

Abaco has been in a state of recovery for over two years since being devastated by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

hutton said Eyewitness News“We are not where we need to be, but we are much better off than this time last year.

“The good news is that we have finally been able to get Elbow Cay powered.

Ken Hutton, president of the Abaco Chamber of Commerce.

“The cays seem to be doing very well, but they can only continue to do well with the support of the mainland.

“The continent is still suffering. We don’t rely on the government to solve all our problems.

“We seek to work with the government to solve our problems.

“We are not looking for a handout, we are looking for a helping hand.

“There are a lot of issues affecting the economy, as well as critical social issues, which I believe are unresolved,” Hutton said.

According to Hutton, one of the main concerns of the private sector is the security of main port of the island and ensure the continuation of direct navigation from the United States.

He noted that waivers granted by the US Coast Guard and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will not be extended indefinitely and expressed concern that if interrupted, freighters would have to unload their goods at Nassau or Freeport rather than Abaco, which would lead to increased costs and additional time.

Destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian showing debris and structural damage to buildings and trees in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, November 10, 2019.

“The port is the lifeblood of the island and of this community,” he said.

“The government has been completely unresponsive to our concerns on this issue.

“We have written to them 10 to 12 times since the beginning of this year and not once have we received an acknowledgment of receipt.

He continued: “We are still in dire need of housing here, only 60% of Central Abaco houses.

“There is no rental housing and it is affecting people’s ability to return home, grow their businesses and rebuild.

“The housing crisis is a big problem. You also have illegal settlements resurfacing and that is another big concern that we need to address.

“We just want the government to engage with the private sector to help address these issues.”

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