Minnis: Relief aid will be closely monitored

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday the government will “very closely” monitor the distribution of aid on Abaco and Grand Bahama to ensure that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

“The international community has been overwhelming in terms of the response in terms of water, food,” said Minnis.

“We have been adequately supplied and supported.”

Asked if the supplies were getting to those storm victims, Minnis said, “Yes, they are. As a matter of fact, we will be following through on those to ensure that that happens so that there is no mobilization or movement of foods and other materials in the wrong hands. We’ll be very closely monitoring that situation.”

He added, “‘Cause the one thing I don’t want, I don’t want no one to call me no thief.”

Some residents on islands impacted by Hurricane Dorian – a deadly storm with sustained winds exceeding 180 mph and gusts of 200 mph – have expressed concerns with the government’s distribution of aid.

The prime minister advised residents, who claimed to have not received aid, to check with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

“NEMA and EOC (emergency operations center) [have] very good, great organizational structures in place now,” said Minnis.

“I don’t think that should be an issue…If they were to call NEMA or EOC in that given area, they can direct them as to how that matter can be resolved.”

He said the government is aiming to issue “updated reports regularly” so that the public can stay informed on the post-Dorian progression.

“The press and the Bahamian public would know exactly how we’re advancing, but they must understand that this is not going to be a quick fix,” Minnis said.

The prime minister said he is “quite happy that we’re going in the right direction”.

“We have added additional staff to NEMA,” he said.

“We’ve added an accountant there and we’ve added additional financial staff so as to monitor and do the necessary invoicing and auditing of what is received. Then, in addition to that, a private accounting firm or team that would do the necessary audit to ensure that everything – all invoices are there, accountability and transparency is there. They would report regularly to the nation as to the monies that [were] received and how the monies [were] spent so that we would have overt accountability.”

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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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