NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has paid out more than $1.7 million in unemployment assistance to persons on Grand Bahama since Hurricane Dorian, according to state minister for the island Kwasi Thompson.
“We recognize that the needs in Grand Bahama is great particularly after Hurricane Dorian,” Thompson said outside Cabinet yesterday.
“Although the need is great the government continues to work towards meeting that need. Social services provides rental assistance to all of those persons who have been displaced since the storm.”
Thompson said: “They have provided appliance assistance to Grand Bahamians to the tune fo over 700,000. With respect to appliance persons can go to Social Services sand receive appliance assistance up to $2,000.
“Since the storm Social Services has provided in excess of $400,000 for assistance for appliances.”
Thompson continued: “Small businesses are a very important part of the rebuilding process the government has provided $10 million for small businesses on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“To date we have about 60 business who have been provided assistance through the SBDC and for micro-loans. They have approved about $300,000 in micro loans and for small businesses grant they have provided in excess of $350,000 for Grand Bahamian small businesses.”
Thompson underscored unemployment continues to be a challenge on Grand Bahama post-Dorian.
“We know that unemployment was a huge challenge and continues to be a challenge for us in Grand Bahama,” he said.
“For a number of businesses who right after the storm were impacted and had to close temporarily, National Insurance’s unemployment benefit kicked-in. From the storm to the latest numbers I think in December, unemployment benefit paid out has been in excess of $1.7 million which has been paid out to Grand Bahamians since the storm.”
Thompson added that the government small homes repair program will get underway soon.
“The small homes repair program will allow persons affected to access up to $10,000 to assist in rebuilding their homes and that will cover either labour or materials,” he said.
“At the very start there has been $10 million allocated to get the program started. We recognize that the need in Grand Bahamas is great but the government will continue to do what it can towards meeting the needs of those in Grand Bahama.”