(Marsh Harbour, Abaco) – The Government of The Bahamas is moving with the speed necessary to ensure the future socio-economic sustainability of Grand Bahama and Abaco, parts of which were devastated by the monster hurricane, Dorian, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019.
Minister Campbell warned that Small-Island Developing States (SIDS) such as The Bahamas, face the reality that hurricanes of the magnitude of Dorian could become more common because of the effects of Climate Change.
“It may appear to be a slow process to some people, but I just want you to assure you that while it may appear to be slow to some persons, what we did not want, what we do not want, is a knee-jerk reaction that would not be sustainable,” Minister Campbell said. “There have been significant discussions with national, regional and international experts and from this point forward, I can assure you that you will see the pace quickening as to the activities.
“Whether we want to admit it or not, the likelihood now is that hurricanes of this magnitude could become more common because of the effects of Climate Change. Whatever we do, whatever changes and improvements we make, will make these areas and indeed our country more resilient while we build even greater capacity.”
Minister Campbell’s comments came while addressing local, regional and international law enforcement, security services and military personnel on the ground in Marsh Harbour. The Minister also met with, and applauded the service provided by the various Emergency Support Functions (ESF) groupings that help to facilitate the work of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Minister Campbell led an advanced delegation to Abaco Wednesday morning as Bahamian disaster management officials continue to oversee what is being viewed as arguably the largest humanitarian aid effort The Bahamas has ever faced.
The team arrived ahead of the main delegation that was led by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis. The Prime Minister delivered a Communication in the House of Assembly Wednesday morning on the impacts of Hurricane Dorian and the government’s efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
Minister Campbell said clean-up of the impacted areas in the aftermath of Dorian is a priority towards that process, as is the regeneration of the impacted areas, housing and the restoration of commerce.
“We believe that the more people continue to see debris, the more they will relive what happened and so there are a number of teams on the ground now that have already started some of the work. If you drive past the Mudd and Pigeon Pea, some efforts have already been made to secure that with some perimeter fencing so that clean-up operation can commence. Tuesday, it was announced that four different groups had been awarded contracts to be a part of the clean-up. I am also aware that the government has provided the requisite funds for the Bahamas Power and Light and the Water and Sewerage Corporation for them to make the necessary repairs.
“In addition to the need for housing in order for persons to return to Abaco to begin the journey towards some sense of normalcy, it is also important that commerce, that the business side of Abaco, is jump-started because Abaco is the third pillar of the Bahamian economy, providing about $120 million-plus to our GDP. The longer Abaco and Grand Bahama remain inactive economically, we will be losing at least 20 per cent of our economy,” Minister Campbell added.
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