Govt received $1.7 billion in pledges, Lewis says

Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis said yesterday that the government received a total of $1.771 billion in pledges during a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Hurricane Dorian pledge conference in January.

Lewis said $1.675 billion of the $1.7 billion was pledged by a single donor.

Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest confirmed that the donor is the P3 Group, Inc.

The Guardian has reported that P3 Group, Inc. had pledged $975 million of the initially announced $1.5 billion total in pledges. Soon after, it was discovered that the amount the group pledged was in the form of a loan to the government.

Lewis noted yesterday that, since then, there have been many questions over the breakdown of the pledges.

“There has been much debate about the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government Pledge Conference held earlier this year,” he said during his contribution to the budget debate.

“Forty-nine pledges were made during the pledge conference [and] $1.771 billion dollars is the total value of the 49 pledges.

“$1.675 billion dollars was pledged for equity and technical assistance from a single donor.”

Lewis said another $42.8 million dollars was pledged in grants.

He said $53.2 million dollars was pledged for technical assistance and gifts in kind, and $109,000 was pledged in cash and sponsorships.

Lewis also noted that some of the full value of some of the donations cannot yet be accessed, as the products are not yet required.

“Outside of the pledges, the [Disaster Reconstruction Authority] DRA received a donation from Cable Bahamas for $250,000, which has been used toward the small home repair program,” Lewis said.

“We continue to communicate with donors, so the status and value of pledges continue to be updated and correlated with the DRA’s priority projects.

“As some pledges for technical assistance or gifts-in-kind represent discounts off future purchased services from a vendor, we may not be able to access the full value of the pledge, as they may not be services we intend to purchase or be relevant to priority projects at this time.”

He added, “Some of the pledges have come with specific restrictions and may not line up immediately with priority reconstruction projects.”

Lewis also noted that some of the donations are no longer available.

“In addition, some donations are no longer available due to the changing economic climate or requirements associated with accessing the support,” he said.

The pledge drive raised assistance for Hurricane Dorian relief. The pledges include technical assistance, intellectual assistance, concessionary loans, equity, grants and guarantee financing.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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