More than 700 Grand Bahamians have already been assisted through the Small Home Repair Programme for individuals affected by Hurricane Dorian, which leveled portions of Grand Bahama and Abaco last September.
The program was launched in February, providing from $2,500 up to $10,000 in purchase orders for residents that were impacted by the devastating storm.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson provided an update on the program, as he outlined various construction projects expected to added an economic boost to the island.
“The Small Home Repair Programme is continuing and so after COVID-19 it’s actually going to be ramped up and there’s going to be some additional work that’s going to be done there. I think about 700-plus persons have already been assisted through the program, so that is going to continue,” he said.
“We’re also going to see some rebuilding with respect to East End. A number of government buildings were destroyed and there are plans for those buildings to be rebuilt. Also in this year’s budget we expect to see a number of roadworks go on in East End and in the West End area. We also anticipate the beginning of the Grand Lucayan refurbishment and rebuilding process and we also expect the new cruise port to also begin within this next budget year.”
As Grand Bahama continues to suffer economically in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and the closing of the economy through emergency powers enacted by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson said it will be construction projects that should keep that island’s economy afloat until tourism resumes.
“We also expect that work on Fishing Hole Road is being done, we think that is actually going to be completed in a couple of days and so there is also a construction opportunity going on there as well. Obviously work is going to continue on the brand new high school that is presently being constructed,” he said.
Thompson said he believes there will be a large amount of construction work in the coming months, which will present a large amount of opportunities for Grand Bahamians.
“We think that within the next year, particularly after seeing the budget that has been proposed, we think that there’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for construction,” he said.
“The hospital is under construction, so they have actually a number of contractors that are presently doing work to bring back the Rand Memorial Hospital. They are working on the major facility itself, but they are also finalizing the cafeteria area, they are actually building a new COVID-19 wing that will accommodate the infectious disease surveillance area and there are a number of contractors working on that at present.
“In addition, very shortly we will begin the refurbishment of our primary and high schools. We normally do the summer repairs, but because of the devastation that Hurricane Dorian had, there is going to be some additional works that are going to be done on our high schools and primary schools.”