Although the Minnis administration has focused significantly during its term thus far on balancing its finances and fighting to remain in good standing with international financial regulators, that is no longer an immediate priority, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.
Asked whether he believes The Bahamas’ financial services sector would be given a break from the scrutiny it has been under, Turnquest said, “We have had some positive feedback from some of these agencies, but at the same time, we’re not depending upon that, we’re going to do what we need to do to help our citizens recover as soon as possible.”
It has been estimated by a catastrophic modeling and risk management company that Hurricane Dorian caused $7 billion worth of damage to The Bahamas.
Turnquest did not stand by that figure, saying it’s too early to say the true cost of the destruction.
“We do not have that assessment yet. There are some international people coming in two weeks that will help us in determining that. The assessments on the islands from local teams are starting this week, so they will start doing the assessments this week,” he said.
“The rapid assessment has already been done so we have some idea of the damage, but they’re going now with the technical team to… assess the cost of what reconstruction is going to be or likely to be. We have some rough numbers but it’s too early to say what that would be.”
The government has already received half of a $10.9 million policy payout from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC).
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced on Friday that the $100 million contingent line of credit the government secured from it earlier this year is now available for the hurricane relief effort.
The government also intends to use $30 million from the dormant account fund.