NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) chairman John Michael Clarke yesterday assured that the entity its committed to ensuring that all vendors are paid and homes repaired under the Hurricane Dorian Small Homes repair Programme, this as reports of vendor payment delays have resurfaced.
Speaking briefly on the matter yesterday, Clarke said: “We are committed to making sure vendors get paid and people’s homes get repaired.”
“The operational staff of the DRA have been working along side the ministries trying to as best they can when revenue is available to attend to it. It may not go as fast as you want to go but there are commitments that have been made and e will honor those commitments. If it causes a slow down we will advise in due time.”
He said: “Everyone now has on their thinking caps and we are trying to figure out how we can utilize sparse resources to accomplish what we set out to accomplish amid a global pandemic and revenues the country doesn’t have.”
One source speaking with Eyewitness News on the condition of anonymity said: “The DRA has requested all of its vendors to stop honoring the purchase orders under the small homes repair program. That means that if people had purchase orders out they haven’t been paid. Most of the hardware stores in Abaco who were accepting purchase orders aren’t doing so anymore because they haven’t been paid.”
Back in September, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis noted that an influx of registrants to the programme had led to a delay of residents receiving supplies and vendors being paid.
Lewis said at the time the program was approaching nearly 5,000 registrants.
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.
Yesterday, K Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, said: “ I do know is there was a period where money was owed to vendors and there was a challenged accepting new purchase orders until they clear out the backlog. That should be resolved, if not fully resolved shortly if that is what is being referred to. I think it’s a simple matter as a result of those outstanding payments and they have to address those before the vendors accept new purchase orders.”