President of the Abaco Chamber of Commerce, Daphne Degregory-Miaoulis is calling on the Government to extend the special economy recovery zone [SERZ] order for Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Mrs. Degregory-Miaoulis is of the view that because of the COVID-19 pandemic people have not had the full benefit of the concessions and that the order should be extended for another three years. She said, “for at least a year we were basically restricted through lockdowns and limited access to contractors, supplies etc.”

With Hurricane Ian devastating parts of Florida, Mrs. Degregory-Miaoulis thinks it is more urgent now for government to extend this initiative. She stated, “we’re dependent on imports coming in from Florida, through Florida, but right now they are overwhelmed with their own rebuild requirements and materials are even going to become more difficult to access.”

Member of Parliament for North Abaco, the Hon. Kirk Cornish, is in favour of the extension, echoing some of the concerns of the Chamber president. He told ZNS news, “there are many persons that wasn’t in a position to purchase the necessary building materials to reconstruct their homes that are now coming into those funds that they can do so. There are many persons who would have been restoring their homes and was unable to obtain a vehicle who are now completed their home and now able to get a vehicle. And these persons would have been in possession of these vehicles and homes pre-Dorian. So I believe it is extremely fitting to accommodate them to restore and rebuild their lives.”

Mr. Cornish said that the extension of the SERZ would be a plus for resident and the Government. The current order is set to expire in December 2022.