Disaster Reconstruction Authority reconciling accounts to address “major shortfall”

Disaster Reconstruction Authority reconciling accounts to address “major shortfall”
A home in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, left in ruin nearly two moths after the passage of Hurricane Dorian. (FILE PHOTO: ROYSTON JONES JR)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis yesterday said the government is currently “reconciling accounts” to determine how much is owed to vendors in the Small Homes Repairs Program.

During a press conference on his ministry’s work since Hurricane Dorian and throughout the pandemic, Lewis was asked to address concerns over thousands of dollars owed to vendors on the storm struck islands.

“We know exactly what our needs are,” he said.

“We are currently reconciling all of our accounts. We know that there is a major shortfall.

“The overall program is going to run well over $20 million but as it stands right now we have accounts to reconcile and once we would have reconciled those accounts and run our numbers, then we will be able to better answer that question and make a determination about the way forward.”

Sources have told Eyewitness News that some vendors on Abaco and Grand Bahama have stopped honoring the purchase orders under the Small Homes Repair Program.

The confirmed vendors on Abaco include Premier Importers Limited, Price Right Ltd. (T/A (Maxwells), Pinders Plumbing, Abaco Hardware, Man O War Hardware, and We Buy U-Sell Group.

Those in Grand Bahama include Dolly Madison Home Center, Caribbean Electrical & Appliance Dist, Kelly’s Freeport Ltd True Value, Modern Air-conditioning, Third Dimension Construction, The Hardware Center, Paint Fair, Island Bedding & Furniture, Coral Windows, Specialty Kitchen & Bath, Bullard’s Plumbing, Lil Giant Discount Lumber & Building Supplies Ltd., and Albuild Hardware & Lumber Co.

Back in September, Lewis noted that an influx of registrants to the programme had led to a delay of residents receiving supplies and vendors being paid.

Yesterday, he said the small home repairs program has registered over 4,000 residents for home repairs on the islands of storm-torn islands.

As of July, the Grand Bahama Port Authority estimated that within the two hundred square mile district of the Port Authority, approximately 4,637 homes were impacted to varying degrees by the storm.

In February, the DRA launched its Small Home Repair Programme, which would allow Bahamians impacted by Hurricane Dorian to access up to $10,000 in funds for repairs.

The government had expected to garner funds from pledges offered from countries and organizations, along with other efforts to help fund Dorian restoration.

However, officials have said the pandemic has created delays in receiving promised donations.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.