It will cost govt over $110 mil. to restore power and running water to Abaco

Minister of Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday that it could cost the government over $110 million to restore electricity and running water in the Abacos in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

“Right now, Water and Sewerage is going to be, preliminarily in Abaco, anywhere from $15 million to $20 million, and BPL (Bahamas Power and Light) in Abaco, anywhere from $80 million to $90 million,” he said.

“And they still don’t know everything. So, you’re having immense infrastructural challenges that the professionals understand that when they get in there, they may see things that they could not see until other things were done.”

He added, “The government is going to provide such assistance as those corporations need.

“…We have to make sure that people in Abaco have their utilities and the dignity of their lives on a day-to-day basis is restored. That’s what we’re going to do in all of Abaco and all the cays, every place where we serve. That’s important. They are Bahamians and they deserve to live with dignity and live with the amenities that everybody else has.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, some Abaconians have complained of a lack of sufficient government presence and progress on the island. Bannister said the government’s agencies are doing the best they can.

“All of these government agencies… [are] stretched in all these areas, and are working for the betterment of those communities, but it doesn’t all come together overnight,” he said.

“It’s hard to tell somebody who has been impacted by a storm to be patient, particularly a storm of this magnitude, and particularly if you go in Marsh Harbour…you could stand in Marsh Harbour and think that you know where something used to be and you are totally wrong. That is the severity of the destruction.

“So, it is unprecedented. It is something that we have to constantly work to improve, and I want you to remember that many of the people who are working, who are trying to make a difference in these communities, have also lost their homes and also have had to find places for their families and other things. And the government is cognizant of that.

“So, the answer is, every day we try to do better and we try to make a difference, and it is going to come together eventually.”

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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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