Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson yesterday slammed critics of the government’s response to Hurricane Dorian, noting that the storm should not be politicized.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has been highly critical of the government’s handling of the storm, which struck Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September.
On October 9, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis described the Minnis administration’s response to Dorian as “erratic, rudderless and disastrous”.
However, in an emotional contribution to the Senate, Thompson said, “We can have our political debates and I am fine with having our political debate. You know, I give my political punches just as good as I get them.
“But for this one, for this one, this is not one that we should have any kind of politics with respect to this one.”
He added, “The social service workers were the ones that went out and prepared the shelters. Consider the fact that the defense force officers, not the politicians, the defense force officers, when you criticize, consider the fact that they are the ones who went out.”
Thompson noted that Dorian was something he could not “divorce” himself from.
“So, if I appear rattled or emotional, it’s because it is rattling and emotional for me,” he said.
“Hurricane Dorian was undoubtedly the most devastating natural disaster we’ve ever seen in The Bahamas, having in fact been recorded as one of the most powerful storms in modern history.”
Thompson described it as “a life-changing experience”.
The minister noted that 8,000 to 9,000 houses and roughly 400 businesses were affected by flood damage during the storm.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed that the Ministry of Public Works had completed its latest structure assessment on Grand Bahama following the storm.
He noted that 3,656 buildings were assessed.
Minnis said 54 percent of those buildings received minimal damage, 19 percent medium damage, 16 percent major damage, and eight percent were destroyed.
He said one percent of the properties could not be assessed.
“Of that total number of buildings, 3,348 were residential; 198 commercial; 50 mixed-use and 60 public properties,” the prime minister said.