New or additional contracts for the cleanup of Abaco may be necessary, Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Permanent Secretary Carl Smith said yesterday.
Smith said the debris removal process in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian has been slow.
“As we evaluate the work that is going on, we may have to restrategize,” he said.
“There’s quite a bit [of] debris still to be removed. And yes, those contracts are being revisited. We, through the authority, will engage other entities, look at their capabilities and issue new or additional contracts.”
Asked about concerns that foreign companies are being brought in for cleanup and reconstruction purposes, Smith assured that all international companies are required to partner with local companies.
“Everything that we do in the rebuilding of The Bahamas from Dorian, for international companies that come in, we are insisting that they partner with local Bahamian companies in every instance,” he said.
“We need the knowledge transfer, the technology transfer here.”
Hurricane Dorian leveled parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, leaving at least 70 dead and thousands homeless and displaced.
United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General Dr. Luis Lopez-Calva said earlier this week that the UN’s partnerships with local organizations has resulted in the collection of 1.7 million metric tons of debris on Abaco.
However, nearly five months after the storm, debris is still a significant concern for Abaconians.
In addition, Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis said earlier this week that some shantytowns were still not finished being cleared. He also said people are still living in the Farm Road shantytown.