COMMENDED: UN rep gives govt thumbs up on its efforts to handle “sensitive issues” and manage double crises

COMMENDED: UN rep gives govt thumbs up on its efforts to handle “sensitive issues” and manage double crises
Garry Conille.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Following a mission held over the weekend, the United Nations (UN) said it had positive discussions held the Bahamas government around development cooperation, the environment, migration, disaster preparedness and response, the economy and recovery from COVID-19.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Garry Conille (left) greets Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield on Abaco on Saturday, May 29, 2021. (BIS PHOTO)

During its mission, led by UN Resident Coordinator (RC) Garry Conille, a UN delegation held discussions with various ministries, agencies and civil society organizations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources; the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction; the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); the Detention Center; and the Red Cross.

Discussions were also held in areas where the UN may better assist The Bahamas in its rebuilding effort following the twin disasters of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the UN said: “The RC recognizes the ongoing challenges associated with irregular migration, and the health, sanitation and safety vulnerabilities linked with erecting informal buildings — challenges not unique to The Bahamas.

“The RC also acknowledges the positive attempts of the government to treat these sensitive issues with due care and dignity.

“Recognizing the observations made by United Nations’ bodies in recent months, Dr Conille commits the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and its country team to support and work alongside the government of The Bahamas, and partners, to help ensure that all processes to regularize migration as well as housing and building codes, maintain the health and dignity of all populations, are in keeping with Bahamian law, meet international best practice, recognize the human rights of all persons and uphold Bahamas’ human rights commitments.”

The UN delegation visited the Carmichael Road Detention Center on Friday and traveled to Abaco on Saturday to tour different areas impacted by Dorian.

Conille thanked the government for its invitation to view these locations and “welcomed the frank, positive, transparent and constructive dialogues around the issues”.

The UN representative further commended the government for its management of “back-to-back crises” of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has engaged and supported the development of a new business plan for UN cooperation in The Bahamas.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that discussions during the UN mission were both “constructive and useful” towards rebuilding a more resilient Bahamas.

“In this regard, the government is committed to partner with the UN on the challenges faced and the opportunities for further collaboration,” the ministry said.