Reconstruction grants not for ‘shopping’ or ‘cruises’, says PM

The government has implemented strict criteria to ensure that reconstruction grants are not used for shopping or trips to Miami, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Sunday. 

Roughly $10 million has been allocated as funding for victims of Hurricane Dorian to rebuild their houses that were destroyed or damaged by the storm, according to the prime minister.

During a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minnis said, “Ten thousand dollars, both you and I know that if our homes are destroyed and government or anybody give you $10,000; $10,000 cannot build any home.

“The tendency – as we’ve seen before with education, etc. – the tendency has been to take that $10,000 and go shopping, go on a cruise and buy whatever you want. A policy will be enacted so that once an individual has commenced the construction of their home, once they reach a certain level of progression, then they will receive the $10,000 which goes directly into the home and not to Miami or to the cruise industry.

“So, there will be complete checks and balances, policy guidelines and in addition to that the minister responsible for this ministry will report to the nation via Cabinet and communication every three months as to the expenditure and progression.”

Last month, the prime minister explained that the proposed trust fund will provide the most vulnerable residents affected by natural disasters with up to a $10,000 grant per household to assist families by providing building supplies, labor or some combination of both.

He has said a committee of subject matter experts will help to operationalize the fund’s efforts and to connect public and private stakeholders.

“This will be ran by the independent, non-political organization and inspectors from the Ministry of Works will go out and make determinations and assessments as to the conditions of homes,” Minnis said on Sunday.

“We’ve made a commitment where individuals may receive $2,500; $,5,000; $7,000; or $10,000. Ten thousand dollars given to those whose homes are completely destroyed.”

The government will provide the initial funds to start-up the trust, according to Minnis.

Dorian struck Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September. 

It impacted nearly 30,000 people and killed at least 70.

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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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