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No timeline for Ragged Island restoration

There is no timeline for the reconstruction of Ragged Island, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said.

“For any minister to give a timeline on that process, he would not be being straight and honest with you,” he said in a recent interview.

In September 2017, Ragged Island was devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Bannister said he could not provide a timeline estimate due to the extensive process involved with the approval of construction contracts.

“There have been several designs for the works that need to be done,” the minister said.

“The first set of designs were not satisfactory. We went back and we’ve gotten other designs from our engineers.

“Once all the designs are finalized… they must go out to competitive tender.”

Bannister continued, “Then the contractors have a certain amount of time to be able to go to Ragged Island to look at the materials, to price every piece of material and to get their quantity surveyors to do the work. Then they come back to us.

“The bids are opened. Determinations are made. First of all, it goes from my office to the tenders board. After the tenders board has looked at it, it goes to Cabinet, and then the contracts are approved.”

The damage was so extensive that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) deemed the island “uninhabitable”.

Seventeen months after the disaster, there is still no government school, post office, administrator’s office, police station or clinic on the island.

Last Thursday, NEMA Captain Stephen Russell said that work on Ragged Island would begin once funding is secured.

“It’s just a matter now of securing funds for the work to be done,” Russell said.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said that Ragged Island would be rebuilt as a green island.

Russell said this is still being discussed for the island.

“There have been some discussions,” Russell said.

“I’ve heard from a number of persons who want to put proposals forward, in terms of solarizing the whole community in the region of three or more million dollars.

“Again, that’s another figure we have to come to when the structures are in place.”

Last week, Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper criticized the lack of government action on Ragged Island.

“It stands to reason that the people of Ragged Island have been forgotten by this administration,” Cooper said.

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