Six months after Hurricane Dorian brought the economy on Grand Bahama to a standstill, Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce President Greg Laroda said he still hasn’t seen an overall plan for the recovery of that island.
“In my discussions I don’t think there is an overall plan. I think different persons are working on different areas and different things. What I would like to see is we all come together and have those discussions and look at how each entity can play a part in that recovery process,” he said.
While Laroda said the GB Chamber is working with the government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) toward a plan, he described the relationship of the parties as a “triangle”.
“We are working with the government and the port authority but I can probably best describe it more as a triangle relationship. Meaning that the chamber has been meeting with the port authority and the chamber has been meeting with the government. The chamber has not been meeting with the government and the port authority at the same time in the same room,” he said.
“That’s what I’m working on, that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. If we can get both parties in the same room to talk about strategically what we need to do to see Grand Bahama recover, not just from Dorian, but what was happening before Dorian.”
As rebuilding continues after Dorian, Laroda said the business community’s fears are that even if they rebuild they will be faced with the same problem of a devastating natural disaster in another couple of years, or sooner.
Some businesses, he said, are questioning whether to rebuild at all and if they do, how, given the flatness of Freeport and the extreme storm surges that reached as high at 20 feet on some parts of the island.
“We have to sit and look at the whole picture. What do we do? Where do we start in this recovery process and building Grand Bahama back? And I think that’s why it’s important that the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the government be engaged in those talks,” Laroda said.