NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The $975 million pledged by The P3 Group Inc for restoration and rebuilding efforts post-Hurricane Dorian will be offered under a lease purchase agreement, explained the company’s President and CEO Dee Brown yesterday.
This represents 65 percent of $1.5 billion pledges raised for recovery funding and in-kind services at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Hurricane Dorian Private Sector Pledging Conference on Monday.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Brown said his company focuses on public private partnerships, specifically high impact transformative projects to invest in.
“We use a lease purchase agreement that have concessional interest rates, so very low interest rates and the repayment is tied to the actual revenues of the project and not from an actual requirement that the government pledge credit or anything to that obligation,” he said.
“So it wouldn’t require the government to put any credit at risk.”
Brown explained that under his company’s model, that $975 million will be broken into several buckets.
“The first bucket will be about $50 million for technical assistance, architectural engineering, master planning, surveying, geotechnical testing, education and training for local citizens, also community engagement,” he continued.
“And then the next phase is we have $670 million allocated for healthcare, where we could come in to provide all the capital, to design, build, and finance new health care facilities and create a world class health care system right here in The Bahamas.
“And under that model, we would provide the capital, technical expertise, and use local Bahamians companies to actually build the project for us.”
He noted that under the lease purchase agreement, “the entity we establish would own the facility until the final payment is made, and then the government could pay one dollar and the asset would transfer to them and so that doesn’t count against the national debt by using that particular methodology.”
Asked what revenue stream is expected as a result of the projects, Brown said, “It depends on which project specifically. For example, hospitals either have hospital revenues or some sort of revenue attached to the operation of the hospital or facility.
“If you talk about renewable energies then you would capture the savings that are generated through implementation of renewables, so it would decrease the actual cost to produce electricity and you could capture that savings and deploy that savings into other capital projects.”
The P3 Group principal noted that they have yet to get into the details with the government over the agreement but said they have received priorities and potential projects.
“We had some high-level discussion with different government officials, letting them know what we do and providing them information on our company but we had not quantified as we did with the pledge,” Brown said.
“The pledge, because we had a list of priorities, gave us an opportunity to quantify and understand in more detail that there is $670 million need for healthcare, and so we were able to really quantify through the pledge conference process.”
He added that they are looking forward to having further discussions with the government in the coming days and weeks.
More than 300 local and international delegates attended the pledge conference at the Baha Mar resort.
The pledges included initiatives in home-building and repair; educational assistance; renewable energy partnerships; relief aid; grants; direct assistance to storm victims; parks restoration; loans and financing.
Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis said yesterday that the fund raised during the pledge conference will ensure the government can get back in operation.
In the aftermath of the deadly storm, the government collected millions of dollars in donations from corporate entities, private entities, foreign governments, local government, intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental agencies multilateral organizations and non-profit organizations.
Lewis noted that progress on rebuilding efforts post-Dorian is “going very well”.
“We have identified our six pillars that we are concentrating on,” he told reporters outside Cabinet.
“We were able to utilize the money, as we indicated yesterday, to help with our family relief center – and the majority of the funds were spent on that.
“Not only the dome itself, but the infrastructure. We have designed the infrastructure in such a way that when the temporary housing facility or the relief center is done away with, the infrastructure will be in a position for us to now create a subdivision.”
Lewis said some $250,000 of donated funds were used for the Kendal G. L. Isaacs gymnasium, along with $17,500 for a backup generator.
Additionally, some $2.2 million was used to purchase the RVs for government services with an additional $250,000 spent on infrastructure.
“So as it stands now, we have wiggle room of about $2 million,” he added.
“And of course, that will also be used to help with our further infrastructural development.
“…Power is very important. Having the airports up and running is very important, having the harbor cleared and operational also is very important.”
Lewis indicated that while it still hasn’t been decided what will happen with the Treasure Cay Airport, it is being considered for privatization.
“But as it stands now, we have the ability based on funds that was donated to get back in operation.”
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimated that Hurricane Dorian caused $3.4 billion in losses and damage when it tore through the northwest Bahamas in early September.