Rebuilding govt facilities on Ragged Is. will cost $12 mil.
The reconstruction of government facilities on Ragged Island will occur in stages “over a number of years” and will cost $12 million, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday.
Ragged Island is still deemed uninhabitable since Hurricane Irma, packing winds up to 185 miles per hour, flattened the tiny island in September 2017.
Residents and descendants from the island continue to call on the government to provide the facilities that were destroyed by the storm.
Following the hurricane, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis vowed that Ragged Island will be turned into a “green city”.
However, the government has provided little to no information on how or when this will be facilitated.
“During the passage of Hurricane Irma, the island was devastated with key infrastructure such as the school buildings, teachers’ residence, police station, health clinic, airport shelter and administration building suffering severe damage,” said Bannister during his contribution to the budget debate.
“This infrastructure was extremely vulnerable because it was very old, and much of it did not meet current building standards with respect to the proper strengthening of foundations and the construction of roofing.
“There is a huge challenge to enforce building controls in the construction process in many Family Island communities, and it is very important for local government to be vigilant during the entire process so that we may protect residents of these communities from natural disasters.”
He continued, “The preliminary cost estimates have taken into consideration the inflationary effect on construction from the cost of transportation to the Family Islands.
“It is clear that we will have to reconstruct Ragged Island’s government facilities in stages over a number of years, as logistically the engineering and architectural process together with the funding of approximately $12 million cannot be accomplished in a single budget year.”
The minister outlined the cost and status of the construction of each of the buildings.
The school and teacher’s duplex is anticipated to cost $4 million.
“The school has been designed for 60 people but will also serve as a hurricane shelter,” Bannister noted.
“The Ministry of Education has only six students on record. The project design has been completed and currently the tender documents are being finalized. It is planned to tender the project by next month with an expected start date in October/November.
“…We anticipate that Ragged Island is going to have a wonderful school and as I indicated, challenges that many people in New Providence would not appreciate; the cost, the work involved, transportation costs to be able to put a facility in a place like Ragged Island, where teachers can be accommodated with their living facilities, where you can accommodate the children, and where you can have a hurricane shelter for the community and we must be able to do that.”
The clinic, for which the architectural design has been completed and is currently under review by the Ministry of Health, will cost $3 million.
The construction of the administrator’s office, post office and court room will cost $2 million, and the police station and officer accommodations will cost $3 million.
The drawings of the architectural designs for these buildings are ongoing.
As for the island’s green city aspect, Bannister added that the RFP for the provision of solar energy in Ragged Island has been issued, and the bids are currently being evaluated.
Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper has continuously asserted that the Minnis administration has failed the people of Ragged Island.
At last report, there were fewer than 60 people living on the island.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications