Amid concerns from a group of scientists and environmentalists over a proposed $580 million Tyrsoz family project for South Abaco, the constituency’s MP, James Albury, has said that he will do everything in his power to ensure their concerns are met.
In an April 15 letter to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, the group of 14 scientists and environmentalists outlined several environmental impact concerns with the project and further urged him to reject a proposed project.
“I would have also been copied on that letter so I would have seen it,” Albury told The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday.
“I’d like to believe and I’m sure they would say the same, I have a very good working relationship with a number of those groups who co-wrote that letter.
“I’m certain they have valid concerns. They met as environmental stakeholders with the principal, the lead point person on the development. I’m certain they have valid concerns and I’m certain they were expressed.
“And I, as someone who is very concerned and very involved in the environmental process of Abaco and the negative impacts it could have, I will do everything in my power to work with them to make sure that their concerns are met.
“I think there’s a lot of room for compromise and negotiation, especially at this point.
“I believe they just wanted to let their concerns be noted in a big way, which I’m certain they have been now at this point.
“I’ll continue to work with them and the developers and whatever role I can play, either as an intermediary or work directly with them, whatever role is necessary to make sure that everyone is happy… I would not want to invalidate anyone’s concern.”
The project was announced during Minnis’ January 2019 national address.
The proposed project by the Tyrsoz family involves the upgrade and expansion of the Sandy Point airstrip; the development of the Sandy Point ferry dock as a cargo transshipment port and construction area; and the extension of Queen’s Highway in South Abaco, the prime minister said.
The group claimed that “a development of this scale would result in irreversible negative socioeconomic impacts on local communities as well as dire environmental consequences for many species living in the area”.
Albury noted that the entire community of South Abaco will have to come together in order to discuss the matter further.
“These things do not happen over night,” he said.
“The process for complete approvals and everything are not overnight functions, so it will take a little bit of time.
“But what happens next is the developers and the various stakeholders, including stakeholders in the community outside the environmental stakeholders, will have to do a lot of working together to make sure that when and if this happens, that it happens to the benefit of everybody.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications