NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government expects to issue additional contracts for the cleanup of storm-ravaged Abaco within a week, Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis announced yesterday.
The storm leveled communities in Abaco on September 1 and stalled over Grand Bahama for another 68 hours, causing wide-spread destruction.
Thousands have been displaced, and at least 67 were killed.
During a press conference at NEMA’s headquarters on Gladstone Road, Lewis said: “The Ministry of Public Works is in the process of creating a plan for the cleanup of the other residential areas across the island. To this end, the following contractors have been recommended for Abaco — only recommended and we do engage all of the local contractors before we bring in any outside help.”
The list of recommended contractors included Abaco Waste and Transport, Innovative Agricultural Development Company Limited, TCB Trucking and Maintenance, Four C’s Maintenance and Landscaping, Dames Landscaping and Construction, among numerous others.
The ministry plans to map out zones for the island for each contractor to be assigned within a week.
The contractors were being finalized, Lewis indicated, noting they will be signed soon.
Lewis also addressed security.
“We have taken the necessary precautions to have security personnel in place, even at the port to ensure the work is done in a safe manner and to ensure there aren’t any disturbances of work or debris compiled by the various contractors,” he noted.
As it relates to Grand Bahama, the minister said work is ongoing in East Grand Bahama, and contractual cleanup work and clearing is progressing in McLean’s Town, Pelican Point, Gambier Point, Freetown, and High Rock.
He said: “They are all presently being cleared and to date the work is progressing satisfactorily. The same requirements for the laydown areas in Abaco applied to Grand Bahama.”
The clearing of roads in Abaco began on September 2, Lewis said.
He said Bill Simmons Construction was able to respond with other NGOs in the clearing of roads across the island, including essential routes, and as of yesterday, all major arteries were passable.
The government signed contracts with four contractors for the cleanup of the shantytowns on the island on September 27.
These included Caribbean Pavement Solutions (The Mudd), Bill Simmons Construction (Pigeon Peas), J and J Pavers (Sand Bank) and Big Cat Equipment (Farm Road).
Their scope of works included removing all debris, remove damaged tree roots, all concrete foundation and bases, as well as vehicles, Lewis said.
The project timeline for each contractor was three months.
According to Lewis, debris was collected and sorted in three categories, including white waste such as freezers and stoves; electronic waste including televisions and computers; household waste such as mattresses, couches and beds; and construction waste.
Wood and organic waste was also sorted.
“Most of the contractors are progressing extremely well and with the cleanup of the shantytowns well on the way,” he said.