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Govt reviewing proposal to build 150 Abaco homes

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the government is reviewing a plan to build 150 homes in Abaco as the island’s post-Hurricane Dorian reconstruction continues.

However, he shied away from detailing other specific plans for the island, noting that a better understanding of the state of the country’s finances is needed.

“After only four weeks in office, I am sure you will understand that I am limiting my remarks for the time being to broad strokes,” said Davis during the Abaco Business Outlook.

“There is still much for us to uncover about the public finances. But even in this climate, and even with the challenges we currently face, there is much about which to be optimistic.”

Dorian made landfall in the Abacos in September 2019 as one of the most powerful storms to ever impact the region.

The storm rendered thousands of people homeless.

Davis said this issue is a priority for his government.

“… We must also pursue rebuilding initiatives, with a bias towards action,” he said.

“So, for example, we are currently reviewing a house building proposal to build 150 homes.

“Several construction types are being considered, including modular and prefabricated housing.

“The prefabricated housing provides for a rapid factory to be built on Abaco, with the equipment brought in and people trained to operate them. This is just one, cost-effective option.”

Many on Abaco have lamented the slow rebuilding in the aftermath of Dorian.

In the September 16 general election, the Progressive Liberal Party won both Abaco seats, which were won by Free National Movement candidates in 2017.

With hundreds of people still “missing” two years after Dorian, Davis said work is also underway to determine what actions are necessary to allow families to collect life insurance payouts.

“Currently, life insurance terms don’t allow for timely payouts after people have gone missing, even when their absence is so clearly associated with a catastrophic event such as a category five hurricane,” Davis said.

“We are reviewing this to see what interventions may be required, legislative or otherwise, so that people aren’t forced to wait seven years for a formal presumption of death after a disaster.

“Apart from the financial burden this imposes, the psychological burden is immense, and closure is not possible.

“This is a tremendous human cost in health and well-being. We know because these are the stories that Abaconians have shared with us. This cannot be right. And my government is committed to fixing it.”

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Rachel Scott

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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