The government of The Bahamas has committed to some $4.5 million of construction for major repairs to all 15 schools on Grand Bahama.
The announcement was made by Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd during a press conference in the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, June 11, 2020, during which a number of local contractors signed agreements with the government to carry out those repairs.
Also in attendance for the contract signing were Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson and Minister of State for the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis.
Lloyd noted that the contract signing signified the government’s commitment to the ongoing construction and restoration of Grand Bahama in general, and to provide and restore the physical plant of the Ministry of Education in earnest.
“We are aware of the significant and unprecedented damage that the plant has suffered across The Bahamas, in particular in Grand Bahama and Abaco,” said Lloyd. “The damage to schools in Grand Bahama has been very serious, particularly in the most critical segments of an edifice, which is the roof.
“I’m greatly pleased with the contributions of many of the international and local NGOs who came to the rescue of our schools in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. That has facilitated the ability of the schools to resume their normal operations and carry on the important work of training and developing and advancing the interest of our young people and students, the primary clients of our ministry.”
Lloyd said it is expected that the work would begin immediately. He expressed confidence in the extraordinary capability, commitment and dedication of the contractors who were chosen to carry out the work, and said he is looking forward to repairs being completed well in advance of the September start date of schools throughout The Bahamas.
“I’m very grateful to Minister Thompson and Minister Lewis and Permanent Secretary Brown for making this contract signing a reality,” said Lloyd.
Thompson said that one of the primary benefits of the contract signing is the creation of jobs on the island of Grand Bahama.
“It is absolutely necessary post-Dorian and as we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, that we continue the effort to rebuild the economy of Grand Bahama,” said Thompson. “These contracts could not have come at a better time for us here in Grand Bahama.
“I’m informed that as a result of these contracts signed here today, they will be able to employ over 150 people immediately.”
Thompson noted that the construction industry on Grand Bahama is progressing and advancing and it provides tremendous opportunity for residents.
He pointed out the renovations still taking place at the Rand Memorial Hospital, where just over a hundred young men have been employed with a number of contractors carrying out those renovations.
The minister also pointed to construction work expected to be carried out on the renovations of the Grand Lucayan resort; development and rebuilding in East End, where many government buildings were destroyed during Hurricane Dorian; work at the Fishing Hole Bridge; and the government’s Small Home Repairs program – all providing construction jobs.
“There is going to be a significant amount of construction work to be done on the island, and Grand Bahamians can look forward to what I call a very active year with respect to the construction industry,” said Thompson. “And we will continue to do our part to ensure that we press for the continual rebuilding of Grand Bahama.”
Lewis noted that the contracts represented the largest investment in school reconstruction on Grand Bahama. He said that Hurricane Dorian exposed a lot of weaknesses within school buildings throughout the island and as such, these repairs would help to resolve and strengthen those weaknesses.
“I believe that we have assembled the best team of contractors who will ensure that the work is done at the highest standards and in a timely manner,” said Lewis.