West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe yesterday bemoaned what she suggested was decades of neglect of her constituents by successive administrations.
While Parker-Edgecombe, a parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, acknowledged the difficult position the government is in financially, she said her constituency has been forgotten for too long.
“Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, how constituents of West Grand Bahama and Bimini must feel?” she asked during her contribution to the 2020/2021 budget debate.
“These communities have been neglected for years. I dare say abandoned and left to fend for ourselves.”
She added, “Two shores less than a mile apart, a mere seven miles long, with hardly any seawall to protect homes and businesses, only two designated shelters and no high ground – this is Bimini.
“Mr. Speaker, imagine being the capital of an island, a gateway to the country, but it appears that you are only that on paper.”
Parker-Edgecombe said her Grand Bahama constituents are still awaiting much-needed aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which devastated both Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September.
“Just imagine storm after storm over a 15-year frame,” she said.
“Imagine being devastated every time by flooding, houses and businesses severely damaged, homes wiped away. Imagine, Mr. Speaker, being rescued amidst the most dangerous weather, having next to no designated shelters, having to rebuild with very little to no finances and needing more help than what has been issued, or not receiving any help at all.
“Those are the stories of many of my constituents in West Grand Bahama, who feel that they have now seen and experienced it all.
“Where is the progress, Mr. Speaker?
“It cannot be at the Eight Mile Rock High School, where the population has dwindled drastically. It cannot be at the Louise McDonald High School, where there is a need for an upgrade to its curriculum and facility.
“It cannot be in the lack of scholarships being offered to deserving students of my constituency. It cannot be in infrastructure, where potholes are rampant, seawalls are missing and roads need paving. It cannot be in the financial sector, where banking and development is nearly nonexistent and more business grants are needed.
“It cannot be in its youth when there are no major sporting facilities or community centers.
“Where is the progress, Mr. Speaker, for a community that has held its end of the bargain?”