Abaco supplies ‘not being withheld’

Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Chairman John Michael Clarke said yesterday that the authority is not withholding building materials for post-Hurricane Dorian domes on Abaco but has instead secured them following “several instances” of alleged theft.

His comments follow the circulation of a video on social media that shows stacks of wood and other supplies being held in trailers.

“No, the materials are not [being] held away from persons,” Clarke told The Nassau Guardian.

“They are being properly secured until the resources allow for the materials to be used for the erection of the domes. All of that material there is for the erection of the domes. Of course, you know, we have to be responsible with the inventory.

“They were bought for the domes and because they were bought for the domes, the intention was to use the materials for the purpose for which they were bought.”

He said the DRA has a full inventory of all the building material.

Clarke said the materials have not been distributed because there were issues getting supplies onto the island as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There was some sporadic movement getting building supplies in,” he said.

“And two, we wanted to make sure that, once we started, we had all of the material on hand to complete the domes. So, if we used the materials for something else, there was no guarantee that when it came time to start the domes again we would have sufficient materials.”

When asked about the allegations of theft, Clarke replied, “It has been reported to us that there have been some instances of theft.”

In the immediate aftermath of Dorian, which ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama in September 2019, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the establishment of temporary housing, which are dome-like structures, that was expected to cost about $6.4 million.

He said the government planned to set up 250 domes on Abaco in a “tent city”.

On Wednesday, DRA Managing Director Katherine Forbes-Smith said that more than 100 temporary housing structures are still waiting to be erected on the two islands.

She said 60 domes were awaiting erection on Abaco and 40 on Grand Bahama.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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