“We will do our best to not add to our National Debt”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government is currently in discussions with The P3 Group Inc. over its pledge of assistance in restoration and rebuilding efforts post-Hurricane Dorian.
In January, at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Hurricane Dorian Private Sector Pledging Conference, the company offered the government a $975 million lease-purchase agreement.
The offer represented 65 percent of $1.77 billion pledges raised for recovery funding and in-kind services.
“We have been in discussion with the P3 group along with the Ministry of Finance,” Lewis said, when asked about the matter during his ministry’s press conference.
“We were meeting with the group last week Friday. We have a report coming out in short order. We have some decision to make, not only the P3 group, we have other groups posing similar offers, and once we have made a determination with regards to the best way forward.”
The pledge was offered to provide technical assistance, architectural engineering, master planning, surveying, geotechnical testing, education and training for local citizens, and well as allocations for “world-class healthcare”.
Lewis said that the UNDP engaged the University of the West Indies (UWI) to provide a suitable Policy Statement for Resilient Recovery in The Bahamas, in order to guide the development of the Recovery Strategy and Implementation Action Plan.
The Draft Policy Vision Statement that was developed will be used to roll out new policies.
He assured that the government will do its best not to add to the national debt in the venture.
“We will look for the best fit to ensure that we will build back better and without adding anything to our national debt…as much as we can help it. Discussions are ongoing.”
Asked how soon the public would know more on the deal, Lewis said he could not give a timeline.
“The meeting was only last Friday. There was a lot of information to absorb because we went into detailed discussion,” Lewis said.
“We presented what are our basic needs assessment. They promised to go back and they will get back to us. We want to come up with a well-crafted plan, whether we will move forward with them on not.”
The government is still waiting to receive funds and services pledged from worldwide governments and institutions from the pledging conference earlier this year.
In September, Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority Director Katherine Forbes-Smith said 49 pledges were made, but some of the pledgers could be reached by the authority.