NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority will be reviewing all of the Hurricane Dorian cleanup contracts in the New Year, according to it’s managing director Kay Forbes-Smith, who noted the authority is not satisfied with the process thus far.
Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama between September 1-3, claiming the lives of a confirmed 70 people — and displacing thousands.
In the aftermath of the storm the government commissioned several contractors to clear down the debris from the shantytowns.
“We’ve gotten complaints from the residents in Abaco who feel the cleanup should be more aggressive,” Forbes told Eyewitness News yesterday.
“So, what we are doing as an authority is looking at those contracts and comparing them with the work that has been done already in terms of the cleanup, and in the New Year, we will make some decisions about those contracts.”
Forbes noted that she has been on the ground on the island several times, immediately after the storm and after the authority became effective on December 3.
“We do have some issues because, for example, we need to look at debris segregation because some of the debris is not being separated the way that it ought to be,” she continued.
“And we are also looking at the Treasure Cay dump site and all of these lay down sites, where the debris is going.
“So no, we are not satisfied either and so as a result of that, we have to make some decisions about how we move forward in the New Year with debris cleanup in Abaco and Grand Bahama.”
Asked whether this review means some contracts will be cancelled, Forbes explained: “A lot of these contracts were 90-day contracts anyway and what it really means is the authority will do what it has to do to advance the cleanup of Abaco and Grand Bahama and do it in the best interest of the community and the people.”
She underscored she did want to create hysteria among people who have contracts.
“As I indicated most of the contracts we’ve reviewed seem to be 90-day contracts,” Forbes said.
“What we have to do and what we are doing as we speak, is we are now going through the contracts and making sure that people are living up to what they are supposed to be doing.
“And like I said, if they are not, then the authority has to do things differently and anything that the authority does is always going to be in the best interest of the people and the communities that we have to deal with.”
At last report, approximately 14 contractors were involved in the debris removal efforts.
The Ministry of the Environment’s Debris Management Plan has established a timeline of 180 days to the total removal of debris.
It estimates there was 1.09 million cubic yards of debris in the Abaco districts and another 2.09 million cubic yard of debris in Grand Bahama.
Addressing the duration of time for cleanup on Abaco and Grand Bahama, Forbes said: “The thing about it is people want to see progress and they want to see work done quickly, and sometime people don’t understand what you are going through to get things done, really.
“On the island that we live on there’s always some logistical issues and obviously some equipment issues and I think the government’s focus has been to make sure that local contractors in Abaco and Grand Bahama would be able to provide services toward this debris cleanup.”