GB residents struggling

Lucita Wells, 50, a Central Grand Bahama resident, has been struggling to make ends meet since she lost her job last year.

“I can’t even function,” Wells told The Nassau Guardian.

“I have some dead people in my family from Abaco. I have to be toting these lines to NEMA and sometimes I don’t even get assistance. It’s horrible right now.”

Lately, she said, every day has been “a challenge”.

“I have a daughter at home and our day is basically going to whatever is being given out right now to get it,” Wells said.

She said she is presently living off relief aid from international and local organizations.

“When this relief is over, I don’t know how we’re going to make it,” she said.

“When this is over, it’s going to be drastic for Grand Bahama.”

Wells continued, “Well, I wasn’t working before [Hurricane] Dorian. Dorian came and it gave me relief, okay? I am glad Dorian came because it brought relief. If Dorian didn’t come, I don’t know, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do nothing.

“I am thankful for Dorian because we have stuff, we can get stuff. I might not get it every day – because sometimes they tell me to come back next month – but I’m still getting it thanks to Dorian.”

Wells’ struggle to find a steady job has become a common problem for many Grand Bahamians in recent years.

Unemployment on Grand Bahama was 11.9 percent in November 2018. In May 2019, that number decreased to 10.9.

However, according to a recent assessment by the Department of Social Services, nearly 50 percent of people on the island are unemployed following Dorian.

Kellyopia Whitfield, 58, a Marco City resident, has been without a job since February 2018.

However, she insisted, “I’m not discouraged.”

Whitfield added, “…There are a lot of business places that have had to close their doors since the hurricane and there’s a lot more persons now unemployed.

“So, it’s kind of, it’s like your resume is out there waiting but you don’t know, there’s no guarantees or no looking forward to say, ‘Oh, I’m sure.’

“You have to wait to get something. But, with Dorian and many more business places being closed since that, there is no option for employment and also being up in age doesn’t help.”

The Department of Social Services’ report was the result of a door-to-door assessment completed on Grand Bahama.

It noted 48 percent of people in East End were unemployed.

The assessment also noted that West End had the highest number of unemployment at 60 percent.

Angela Bethel, 26, who lives in West Grand Bahama, lost her job a week ago.

“We used to clean a condo but the people left the island,” said Bethel, a resident of Eight Mile Rock.

“They’re not there anymore. It was because of Dorian.”

Bethel has a four-year-old daughter.

They live with Bethel’s father.

However, she said, their electricity has been off since Hurricane Matthew struck the island in 2016.

When asked why, Bethel replied, “Technical difficulties and the job-wise.”

She said she hasn’t been able to afford the costs associated with having the electricity reconnected.

Bethel said she has not lost hope that she will be able to find a job and have a good Christmas.

Dorian leveled parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September. The storm, the strongest to make landfall in the region in recorded history, sat over eastern Grand Bahama for two days before moving north.

So far, 70 have been confirmed dead in the aftermath, and thousands have been displaced.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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