Govt hopes to provide pledge breakdown before month’s end

Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness Iram Lewis said yesterday the government hopes to give the public a breakdown of the pledges from last week’s pledge conference before the House of Assembly reconvenes on January 29.

Last Tuesday, Kay Forbes-Smith, managing director for the Disaster Reconstruction Authority, told The Nassau Guardian the report would be published before the end of last week.

However, that did not happen.

Yesterday, when asked when the public can expect that breakdown, Lewis replied, “In the soonest time.”

Asked if the breakdown would be made public before the House of Assembly reconvenes next week, Lewis said, “I’m hopeful that it will be.”

He continued, “Remember now, that’s not all done internally; that’s done in partnership with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). So everything that’s done within my purview, it’s a combination of us working with the United Nations Development Programme.

“We got to make sure that our report is completed, our follow up with those who may have pledged are done appropriately and efficiently so that when we come with a report, our report will be solid, our report will be something that we can act on.”

On January 13, the government said it received $1.5 billion in pledges for Hurricane Dorian relief during a special pledging conference.

The pledges include technical assistance, intellectual assistance, concessionary loans, equity, grants and guarantee financing.

The lion’s share was a $975 million loan offer from The P3 Group, Inc., a U.S. based company. The money would be repaid with interest if accepted.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government will decide which pledges to accept in the coming weeks.

The realization that some of the pledged funds will be loans raised concern in the public.

However, Minnis scolded critics, saying that their “silly, confused” comments show how uninformed they are.

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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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