Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Brave Davis called for a more urgent and aggressive approach from the government in Abaco and Grand Bahama in response to Hurricane Dorian.
“The Progressive Liberal Party remains fully committed to the restoration of the affected communities and will support this national effort by continuing to provide relief, aid and assistance to our distressed brothers and sisters in addition to being their national voice of advocacy to bring a measure of normalcy to their everyday lives,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
“I share the widely held public view that given the extent and nature of the damage sustained generally, a more urgent, aggressive and substantive intervention by government agencies are desperately needed than has occurred to date.
“The government must now accelerate its efforts to alleviate widespread and extreme suffering among our people.”
Davis also warned that an oil spill at an oil storage facility in East Grand Bahama as a result of Hurricane Dorian could result in a public health crisis.
At Equinor’s South Riding Point location, aerial photos revealed massive, dark pools of oil surrounding the storage tanks and seeping into nearby land.
“It is clear that this storm has devastated these communities and the residents there are in urgent need of relief and very strong support,” said Davis.
“The extensive oil spill at Equinor in South Riding Point, formerly Statoil, raises grave concerns about a possible risk of contamination to the water table, triggering a public health crisis.
“Further, this incident requires an immediate assessment by the owners and the Ministry of the Environment and urgent remediation to mitigate against an environmental catastrophe.”
Equinor has acknowledged the spill, but said it cannot yet determine how much oil has leaked.
“Our initial aerial assessment of the South Riding Point facility has found that the terminal has sustained damage and oil has been observed on the ground outside of the onshore tanks,” the company said in a statement.
“It is too early to indicate any volumes. At this point there are no observations of any oil spill at sea.”
Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Committee Chairman John Michael Clarke said at a press conference on Saturday that the company had a vessel en route from Louisiana with remediation and cleanup equipment on board.
In the meantime, he said the company was sending a 16-seater helicopter with personnel and equipment necessary to contain the spill.