Government defends measures taken to deal with aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

by staff writer

NASSAU, Sept 12, CMC – The Bahamas government has defended its handling of its response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian when it slammed into the country more than a week ago, killing at least 50 people and causing widespread devastation mainly on the Abacos island and the Grand Bahama.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in a radio and television broadcast on Wednesday night also announced plans for a national day of mourning and has ordered that all flags be flown at half-mast on public buildings.

Officials here estimate that more than 2,500 people still remain missing following the passage of the Category 5 storm on September 1. They also acknowledge that the death toll could increase significantly as the search and rescue teams move more into the devastated areas of the Abacos and the Grand Bahama, where most of those reported missing had been residing.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis addressing the nation (CMC Photo)

In his address, Prime Minister Minnis seemed to have acknowledged the criticisms levelled at his administration in the policies being implemented following the storm telling the nation, his administration had been removing the red tape that has been frustrating members of the public who are in desperate need of assistance.

“Right after the all-clear was given by the Met Department, we began mobilising our search, rescue and recovery efforts. We deployed security, food, water, and other resources as quickly as was possible once the all-clear was given so that first respondents were not put at risk.

Abaco under water

“Our search, rescue, and recovery efforts are one response with many parts. As soon as was possible, after the impact of the hurricane, the government deployed Bahamian rescue and security personnel, from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”

Minnis said that at the invitation of the government, he asked the US Coast Guard to immediately go into action, using their helicopters and other resources.

hundreds waiting to leave…

He praised the United States, saying President Donald Trump has authorised the full support of his government and that disaster management experts from the US are in the country providing their expertise.

“One of our closest allies and neighbour, is the United States of America,” he said, adding “because of their specialty equipment and resources, the US Coast Guard has been leading air rescuers and transport within the disaster zone.

“USAID is providing significant relief supplies. Members of the FBI are here too along with other US rescue, aid and security officials.”

In his address, Minnis also thanked the United Kingdom, which has sent its Royal Navy; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has sent security forces and aid officials and the  Canadian government and the Royal Dutch Navy.

But Minnis said that while efforts are being made to assist people as quickly as possible, he also urged that people get together and assist in rebuilding the battered country.

“Instead of criticising those who are trying their best, day after day, in government, charities, churches and volunteers’ efforts, let us all join hands and hearts to focus on the needs of those who are suffering,” he said, adding “those whose lives are devastated need hope, love and generosity, not needless negativity.

“How can you help? Volunteer at a reputable charity. Make a donation. Take in those in need,” he said, noting that the destruction by the hurricane that had winds in excess of 180 miles per hour (mph) led to much of Abaco “no longer exists” while East Grand Bahama “has been laid to waste

“No living Bahamian has ever seen anything like this in their lifetime. But as horrible and vicious as Hurricane Dorian was, the bravery and resilience of the Bahamian people is even more powerful.”

Minnis said incidents of looting and lawlessness post-hurricane will not be tolerated, adding law enforcement officials have secured Abaco.

He said a private accounting firm will have oversight of storm relief donations to the government and will report on how the money is being spent.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said the government is keeping a close tab on all the financial donations made to it for Hurricane Dorian relief, which he said have not yet totalled US$100 million.

“I’m not able to give you that number at the moment, I’d be speculating. But we are pleased with the level of contributions so far. We are keeping close tabs and control over all the donations and all the expenditure that we incur as a result of this disaster.

“We have assigned a certified public accountant to be on that team to ensure that the procedures and processes are fully controlled and that we get accurate reporting, so that we can give feedback to our donors on exactly how their money was spent,” he told reporters.

“Certainly, for the money I have collected I’ve given that commitment to those donors that we will give a detailed report of everything that we have done with their monies. No money that is collected for donation to the public or for infrastructure is going to incur any kind of deduction or any kind of administrative cost, we want every penny of that to go where it’s intended to go,” he added.

Meanwhile, two former prime ministers, Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham have said they are available to assist in the rehabilitation efforts.

“Let me just say one point that may be perceived as criticism and if it is that’s too bad, too sad. Some people have the view that ‘listen, I have this job, I got this. So no I don’t need no help from you. I got it,” Ingraham said ’

“Well, it’s big. It’s bigger than any one man. It’s bigger than any one government, bigger than any one group and it’s our country all of our country and so we all have a duty to support.”

Ingraham said despite speaking with Minnis following the hurricane he did not think that the prime minister was minded to carve out a role for him as efforts continue.

Christie told reporters that when he spoke to Prime Minister Minnis, he suggested that they meet, but this meeting has not taken place.

“I spoke with Prime Minister Minnis on Sunday. He called me to make a suggestion as to what he thought I could do. I indicated to him that we should meet if circumstances warranted it. That didn’t happen, but I indicated at the time that based on the experience that I have had through four or five hurricanes that he would be overwhelmed by this.

“I told him that he should exercise the greatest care because the reputation of the country was being assaulted, that he was personally being heavily criticised and that it was just too much even if he was symbolic, for him to be the symbol of restoration in this country. I said if you were to make a bold decision, the people of the Bahamas would applaud you,” he added.

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by staff writer

NASSAU, Sept 12, CMC – The Bahamas government has defended its handling of its response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian when it slammed into the country more than a week ago, killing at least 50 people and causing widespread devastation mainly on the Abacos island and the Grand Bahama.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in a radio and television broadcast on Wednesday night also announced plans for a national day of mourning and has ordered that all flags be flown at half-mast on public buildings.

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Officials here estimate that more than 2,500 people still remain missing following the passage of the Category 5 storm on September 1. They also acknowledge that the death toll could increase significantly as the search and rescue teams move more into the devastated areas of the Abacos and the Grand Bahama, where most of those reported missing had been residing.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis addressing the nation (CMC Photo)

In his address, Prime Minister Minnis seemed to have acknowledged the criticisms levelled at his administration in the policies being implemented following the storm telling the nation, his administration had been removing the red tape that has been frustrating members of the public who are in desperate need of assistance.

“Right after the all-clear was given by the Met Department, we began mobilising our search, rescue and recovery efforts. We deployed security, food, water, and other resources as quickly as was possible once the all-clear was given so that first respondents were not put at risk.

Abaco under water

“Our search, rescue, and recovery efforts are one response with many parts. As soon as was possible, after the impact of the hurricane, the government deployed Bahamian rescue and security personnel, from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”

Minnis said that at the invitation of the government, he asked the US Coast Guard to immediately go into action, using their helicopters and other resources.

hundreds waiting to leave…

He praised the United States, saying President Donald Trump has authorised the full support of his government and that disaster management experts from the US are in the country providing their expertise.

“One of our closest allies and neighbour, is the United States of America,” he said, adding “because of their specialty equipment and resources, the US Coast Guard has been leading air rescuers and transport within the disaster zone.

“USAID is providing significant relief supplies. Members of the FBI are here too along with other US rescue, aid and security officials.”

In his address, Minnis also thanked the United Kingdom, which has sent its Royal Navy; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has sent security forces and aid officials and the  Canadian government and the Royal Dutch Navy.

But Minnis said that while efforts are being made to assist people as quickly as possible, he also urged that people get together and assist in rebuilding the battered country.

“Instead of criticising those who are trying their best, day after day, in government, charities, churches and volunteers’ efforts, let us all join hands and hearts to focus on the needs of those who are suffering,” he said, adding “those whose lives are devastated need hope, love and generosity, not needless negativity.

“How can you help? Volunteer at a reputable charity. Make a donation. Take in those in need,” he said, noting that the destruction by the hurricane that had winds in excess of 180 miles per hour (mph) led to much of Abaco “no longer exists” while East Grand Bahama “has been laid to waste

“No living Bahamian has ever seen anything like this in their lifetime. But as horrible and vicious as Hurricane Dorian was, the bravery and resilience of the Bahamian people is even more powerful.”

Minnis said incidents of looting and lawlessness post-hurricane will not be tolerated, adding law enforcement officials have secured Abaco.

He said a private accounting firm will have oversight of storm relief donations to the government and will report on how the money is being spent.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said the government is keeping a close tab on all the financial donations made to it for Hurricane Dorian relief, which he said have not yet totalled US$100 million.

“I’m not able to give you that number at the moment, I’d be speculating. But we are pleased with the level of contributions so far. We are keeping close tabs and control over all the donations and all the expenditure that we incur as a result of this disaster.

“We have assigned a certified public accountant to be on that team to ensure that the procedures and processes are fully controlled and that we get accurate reporting, so that we can give feedback to our donors on exactly how their money was spent,” he told reporters.

“Certainly, for the money I have collected I’ve given that commitment to those donors that we will give a detailed report of everything that we have done with their monies. No money that is collected for donation to the public or for infrastructure is going to incur any kind of deduction or any kind of administrative cost, we want every penny of that to go where it’s intended to go,” he added.

Meanwhile, two former prime ministers, Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham have said they are available to assist in the rehabilitation efforts.

“Let me just say one point that may be perceived as criticism and if it is that’s too bad, too sad. Some people have the view that ‘listen, I have this job, I got this. So no I don’t need no help from you. I got it,” Ingraham said ’

“Well, it’s big. It’s bigger than any one man. It’s bigger than any one government, bigger than any one group and it’s our country all of our country and so we all have a duty to support.”

Ingraham said despite speaking with Minnis following the hurricane he did not think that the prime minister was minded to carve out a role for him as efforts continue.

Christie told reporters that when he spoke to Prime Minister Minnis, he suggested that they meet, but this meeting has not taken place.

“I spoke with Prime Minister Minnis on Sunday. He called me to make a suggestion as to what he thought I could do. I indicated to him that we should meet if circumstances warranted it. That didn’t happen, but I indicated at the time that based on the experience that I have had through four or five hurricanes that he would be overwhelmed by this.

“I told him that he should exercise the greatest care because the reputation of the country was being assaulted, that he was personally being heavily criticised and that it was just too much even if he was symbolic, for him to be the symbol of restoration in this country. I said if you were to make a bold decision, the people of the Bahamas would applaud you,” he added.