East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest said yesterday that he remains disappointed that the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) has not provided temporary dome homes to residents in need of accommodation.
“I have lamented the fact that the government’s restoration efforts in East Grand Bahama have not kept pace with these developments,” Turnquest said during the 2021/2022 budget debate.
“I remain disappointed that the DRA has not followed through on its commitment to provide temporary dome homes to residents in the affected area in need of accommodation.
“I understand the challenge but when one considers the costs allocated to continued debris management, to administration of the program, etc., the cost to erect and provide shelter to 40 resident families with some accommodation is insignificant. We can do this.
“I do not accept the present situation and regret that I am forced to mention it again.”
Hurricane Dorian, the category five storm, leveled portions of Abaco and Grand Bahama in September 2018.
In the aftermath of the storm, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the establishment of temporary housing, which are dome-like structures, that was expected to cost about $6.4 million.
He said the government planned to set up 250 domes on Abaco in a “tent city”. However, more than 100 domes are still waiting to be erected on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
In January, when asked what was the hold up with the erection of the remaining structures, DRA Project Manager Wendell Grant told The Nassau Guardian, “There’s a number of things that are holding up: some of it is material, some of it is contracting, some of it is cost.”
Turnquest has previously lamented the lack of progress made in East Grand Bahama since Dorian.
He said yesterday that it is unfortunate that “no mention has been made in this budget, thus far, of the rebuilding of the police station, the government complex and the administrator’s residence in High Rock”.
“This is regrettable and I ask for some reconsideration of this necessary infrastructure,” he said.
“The people of East Grand Bahama, for many years, have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to government allocations, particularly as it relates to infrastructure. I don’t begrudge anybody because all of these islands throughout this country demand resources, have infrastructure needs and deserve modern infrastructure.
“But there are some things that are government obligations and a proper government complex is one of those basic services. It’s not just about the building, it’s about all of the services that these people need.
“Chief among them is security. As it stands, the police patrol the area and some of them stay in their car so that they can stay in the area longer.
“They park the car and stay in the car. I think we can do better than that.”