Skilled labor will have to be brought in to rebuild the islands impacted by Hurricane Dorian, Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson said yesterday.
Johnson, who was a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show “The Revolution”, said his visit to Abaco since the storm revealed to him that the construction needs on the island will outweigh the amount of skilled labor available in the country.
“The reality is all of our skilled labor will be used up,” he said. “You need to bring in persons.”
Johnson said he has instructed the Department of Immigration to ensure that the movement of this labor into the country is as smooth as possible.
He added that he has asked the department to focus on customer relations as these and other types of people come in to help The Bahamas rebuild the storm-ravaged islands.
“You can’t rebuild the country without the external labor,” said Johnson.
Catastrophic modeling and risk management company Karen Clark and Company (KCC) estimated that Dorian caused $7 billion worth of damage to The Bahamas. Insurance professionals have contended that insurance payouts could top $400 million as reinsurers begin to roll out payments.
Former president of the Bahamian Contractors Association Leonard Sands suggested that Marsh Harbour in Abaco should not be rebuilt until there is a viable and sustainable plan in place to ensure the structures and surrounding infrastructure will be able to stand up to another storm with the intensity of Dorian.