Assessments to trigger CCRIF, IDB disaster relief payments underway

The results of the assessments that will trigger payments from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC) and the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) $100 million contingent loan for natural disasters should come in over the next few weeks, Acting Deputy Financial Secretary Cherran Weech-O’Brien said yesterday.

O’Brien, who was speaking at a press conference to announce the exigency order signed by the government to provide tax relief on the importation of hurricane relief supplies, explained that it has to still be determined what funds The Bahamas will qualify for.

“The Ministry of Finance is activating the necessary protocols to access emergency funds available under the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) contingent line of credit secured by the government late last year,” a press release on the matter explained.

“This credit facility gives the government access to emergency financing to provide basic necessities to persons in the affected areas and to procure dedicated goods and services for the execution of restorative work.

“Our technical teams, including local and international partners, are commencing a parametric and economic impact assessment to support this work. The Bahamas is covered by a Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC). The Ministry of Finance is activating the necessary assessment protocols to trigger any payments we qualify for.”

In May 2018, the government successfully negotiated the zoning of The Bahamas with the CCRIF SPC, which allows the country to claim from the insurance scheme based on catastrophic damage sustained in each zone of The Bahamas separately.

Those three zones are the north, south and central Bahamas, which have different premiums and attachment points.

In January of this year, the government debated and passed a resolution to borrow $100 million from the IDB. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis explained then in the House of Assembly, the country’s critical need for a contingency loan to fund disaster management.

The press release added that the Ministry of Finance is “implementing the government’s fiscal plan for catastrophic natural disasters to ensure the vital hurricane relief operations being conducted by NEMA are adequately funded”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business on Sunday that the payouts from these schemes will go to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to bring relief to the residents of the Abacos and Grand Bahama.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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