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PM: 1,200 to get jobs from Abaco project

A South Abaco resort and marina project will hire 1,200 Bahamians, said Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis after the signing of a heads of agreement for the $580 million development yesterday.

“It is anticipated that 600 workers will be employed during the construction phase of the project,” Minnis said.

“Tyrsoz Holdings has agreed to aim for a ratio of no less than 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers.”

Minnis said another 600 people are expected to be employed once the resort is operational.

“Tyrsoz has also agreed to maximize the hiring of Bahamians for additional operational employment and promote entrepreneurial

opportunities for Bahamians in the commercial aspects of the development,” he said.

“Training programs will be implemented to help qualify more Bahamians for employment in the operation and management of the property.

“Multi-disciplinary, on-the-job technical skills training and apprenticeship programs for Bahamian employees will be implemented and maintained.

“In an effort to identify qualified Bahamians for employment and management, Tyrsoz has agreed to collaborate with the relevant government agencies for education, including the University of The Bahamas and The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.”

Additionally, Minnis said Tyrsoz will create a South Abaco Business Development Fund, through which $7 million will be available to Bahamian entrepreneurs who want to establish businesses in the project.

Ronnie Ben-Zur, the development manager, said the funding will be done on a basis of merit.

“If the people are good, we will fund them,” he said.

“That’s why we put this fund together so that we can be sure that we choose the best people who are most suitable to run a high-level shop…or all kinds of stuff.”

Minnis said Bahamian art, cuisine and entertainment will also be heavily featured on the property.

The project will be comprised of two properties, Minnis said. The Lantern Head property will feature a hotel and golf course, and the South West property will be home to a super-yacht marina and village.

Last year, a group of 14 scientists and environmentalists wrote the prime minister urging him to reject the project.

The group claimed that “a development of this scale would result in irreversible negative socio-economic impacts on local communities as well as dire environmental consequences for many species living in the area”.

However, Minnis and Ben-Zur assured yesterday that the environmental impact will be taken into consideration before the project moves forward.

Minnis said construction on the project and any other construction beyond the high-water mark will be prohibited until the approval of the Environmental Management Plan by the BEST Commission.

The developer must also submit an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for review and approval.

Ben-Zur said he is committed to protecting the environment.

“I am committed to making this project a positive part of the community,” he said.

“Our fortunes are tied and we will rise together.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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