Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday that the government is keeping a close tab on all the financial donations made to it for Hurricane Dorian relief, which he said have not yet totaled $100 million.
So far, the government of Canada has committed $500,000 to relief efforts and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has made an initial emergency donation of $200,000. Atlantis resort and Brookfield Asset Management pledged $3 million, Baha Mar has committed $2 million and other local and international organizations have pledged significant contributions.
Turnquest said the government does not yet have a final tally on the total donations and commitments made.
“I’m not able to give you that number at the moment, I’d be speculating. But we are pleased with the level of contributions so far. We are keeping close tabs and control over all the donations and all the expenditure that we incur as a result of this disaster. We have assigned a certified public accountant to be on that team to ensure that the procedures and processes are fully controlled and that we get accurate reporting, so that we can give feedback to our donors on exactly how their money was spent,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Certainly, for the money I have collected I’ve given that commitment to those donors that we will give a detailed report of everything that we have done with their monies. No money that is collected for donation to the public or for infrastructure is going to incur any kind of deduction or any kind of administrative cost, we want every penny of that to go where it’s intended to go.”
As for how those funds will be distributed, the government has appointed a disaster recovery committee, which Turnquest said is mandated to prioritize and determine the best way for the money to be spent.
“But obviously we know that there’s going to be tremendous private sector needs. There’s also going to be commercial sector needs in terms of low interest rate loans, loan guarantees and grants for small businesses to ensure that we get the commercial sector up. So, there’s going to be a whole combination of incentives and initiatives that we’ll undertake to get these communities back up and going as soon as possible,” he said.
“We recognize that there are some people who have insurance and that will take care of their own needs, but there is also a tremendous amount of people who are not going to be able to recover on their own, so we’ll have to look at how we will provide support to them also. There are some areas we may need to look at like building codes and where we allow people to build or rebuild to the extent that there is total destruction.”
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC) announced on Friday that it will pay The Bahamas US$10,936,103, after deadly Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama.