The government has collected nearly $7.5 million in donations following Hurricane Dorian, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed yesterday.
“In this hurricane relief effort, there will be accountability,” Minnis said in the House of Assembly as he wrapped up debate on the Disaster Preparedness and Response (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
“And, Mr. Speaker, I just want to give an update … There are many Bahamians who believe that we are collecting billions and billions of dollars.
“That is not true. We will give an update, but I want to point out that, as of today, we … received donations to the tune of $7,443,938.64, not the hundreds of millions of dollars that people believe.”
He said the government has received $2,714,870.80 from corporate entities; $1,079,965.65 from private entities; $1,951,500 from foreign governments; $503,078.85 from local government; $393,186.94 from intergovernmental agencies; $221,378.01 from non-government organizations; $400,000 from multilateral organizations; and $179,958.39 from non-profit organizations.
“Just to give an idea of the expenditure, RVs, Mr. Speaker, inclusive of fixed bank charges: $1,934,359.35,” he said.
“Expenditure mobilization on domes structures: $2,750,000.
“Mr. Speaker, be assured that this government will give updates on monies received so that individuals would not feel that we are misappropriating the funds.
“We will account and report to this Parliament as to every cent we receive and how every cent was spent.”
Dorian is the strongest hurricane on record to hit The Bahamas.
It devastated parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama last month and left thousands displaced, hundreds missing and at least 65 dead.
Minnis also touted his government’s decision to secure a $100 million contingent loan facility from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for natural disasters.
“When our administration brought this matter to the House for approval the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) voted against this credit line, which will prove to be a lifeline for the country and the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama,” Minnis said.
“In another example of their reckless, angry, wild opposition to just about everything we propose, the PLP voted no to this credit facility, which we are able to quickly draw on after Hurricane Dorian.
“They are so short-sighted or blinded by their own desperation that they opposed what was good for the Bahamian people.”
Minnis said the funds will be used to rebuild the lives and communities of those devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
He said $30 million will be used for electrical restoration and infrastructure; $15 million for water restoration; $30 million for social assistance payments and support; $15 million for clean-up; $1 million for evacuation and shelter costs; and $9 million for other costs to be determined.
“Thank God that our administration pushed ahead with this credit facility just as we pushed ahead with the new legislation before us,” Minnis said.
He added, “This IDB loan facility has rigorous and strong accountability mechanisms, unlike some loans in the past from commercial banks, where hurricane funds ended up in all kinds of funny and unintended places.
“This administration will account for how and where these hurricane recovery and reconstruction funds will be spent.”