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PM: Dorian celebration announcement taken out of context

The announcement of an upcoming concert in Nassau that will commemorate the third anniversary of Hurricane Dorian was taken out of context, according to Prime Minister Philip Davis.

“There are a number of days of activities which include the islands in particular that were impacted by it,” Davis said yesterday.

“He (the press secretary) will be making an announcement on all the activities at the next press conference that he holds. It is not just a Nassau-centric matter. I think it is just that there’s a headliner that wanted to come and they’re coming to do a concert.

“Since they’re here, he’s just going to tie that event into what’s been happening during that time because we are celebrating the Dorian thing and he perhaps just saw it fitting to tie that into it.”

Davis noted events commemorating the storm will also be held in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

He said he will participate in those events as well.

The concert, which will be headlined by Cece Winans and held at Baha Mar, was announced by Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Clint Watson last week.

It was immediately criticized by some who questioned why the event was taking place in New Providence when Abaco and Grand Bahama were the islands devastated by the monster storm, which killed dozens of people and left scores more missing.

In a statement, the OPM Press Office said the planning of the events took into account that some Dorian survivors relocated to Nassau and will likely want to attend the event.

“These celebrations will be the first government-recognized memorial since the passage of Dorian,” it said.

“We highlight the opposition’s support for these national events for what will be a non-partisan and unifying effort.”

Free National Movement Leader Michael Pintard refuted the press office’s claim, noting it made “passing comments of the government’s desire to commemorate the occasion and expressed hope that the opposition would participate”.

Up until the announcement last week, the opposition had not been provided with the details of the events, according to Pintard, who added that such details would have assisted it with understanding the nature of what was being proposed.

He said it would have also allowed it to decide whether it wanted to participate or if it had any recommendations.

“Furthermore, the term ‘celebration’ upon initial review seem to be out of place against the backdrop of this devastating and catastrophic hurricane that made a life changing impact in the country in September 2019,” Pintard said.

“Moreover, any concert being planned should be anchored by world-class Bahamian talent supported by our friends who we may wish to invite to participate from overseas.

“Grand Bahama and Abaco should be the primary locations for such events unless the Nassau concert was a benefit event to raise badly needed funds to improve families devastated by Dorian. We do support a bipartisan commemoration of the passage of Dorian.”

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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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