Dismissing a national address delivered by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Tuesday night as “self-congratulation”, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday slammed the address as an attempt by Minnis to “hold onto power”.
He decried the “snail’s pace” of recovery efforts on Abaco and Grand Bahama five months after Hurricane Dorian, and called Minnis “detached” from the reality of the situation.
“From his address, the prime minister clearly lives in a parallel universe, detached from the Bahamian reality and experience,” Davis said in a press release.
He added, “The prime minister’s fantasy pronouncements six months after Dorian in his national address, are a dollar short and a day late, similar to his planning, management and execution of this natural disaster.
“His address was just another campaign effort to tenuously hold onto power.”
Saying that members of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) engaged in a “fact-finding” tour of the two hurricane-stricken islands, Davis claimed that the “facts on the ground” are contrary to what was said in Minnis’ address.
“The unbearable stench from scores of unidentified dead bodies still in trailers in Abaco after six months fills the air,” Davis claimed.
“This is disrespectful to the families who have lost loved ones. There is simply no excuse for leaving piles of dead bodies in trailers for six months.
“These are people, who, in death, deserve dignity and a Christian burial, in line with our values as a people.
“We may not know their names, but to leave them rotting in trailers is unforgivable. It requires nothing more than a conscience, and a willingness to do the right thing.”
Also acknowledging the ongoing debris cleanup, Davis railed against “piles of hurricane debris” that remain on the islands.
As he again took aim at the Disaster Reconstruction Authority, Davis said: “Politically divisive FNM (Free National Movement) cronies handpicked by the prime minister to superintend the reconstruction efforts continue to hurt public confidence in this national effort.
“The reconstruction is moving at a snail’s pace and the process is confusing and frustrating. This is compounded by too much government bureaucracy that is at the root of the confusion and frustration.
“Nowhere is this more evident than in the payables system and process for value-added tax and customs duties at the border. Business people are simply confused and disgusted.”
He added, “The consensus locally is that the Minnis government has failed the Bahamian people while international news organizations and observers continue to report that The Bahamas government continues to struggle with its reconstruction efforts even as the 2020 hurricane season nears.”
In his address on Tuesday, Minnis said that his administration is “not afraid of criticism” and stressed that the recovery process will take time as he called for national unity.
“The work of rebuilding and restoration will take years,” Minnis said.
“There is no quick fix. Dorian was a historic storm. By wind speed, it was the second strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic.
“Anyone who professes quick-fix solutions to the catastrophic damage caused, is not credible.”