Man camp on Ragged Island needed before demolition and construction begins

Man camp on Ragged Island needed before demolition and construction begins
Ragged Island airport, two years after Hurricane Irma ravaged the island.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister yesterday said Ragged Island will see movement on demolition and reconstruction this year.

Bannister told reporters outside Cabinet demolition work on the island’s school will start “very shortly”.

He was asked to comment on the status efforts on the island more than two years after Hurricane Irma rendered it “unlivable”,

“It’s important for you to appreciate that we have several phases,” he said.

“A contractor is going down there and he’s going to demolish those structures…The first structure that is going to be built is a school. There is going to be several teachers’ residences, according to a really wonderful plan that the architects have put together.

“The building is going to be resilient to meet 180 mile per hour winds because that’s a challenge Ragged Island had. There’s also going to be a hurricane shelter in Ragged Island.”

He noted however that in order to build in Ragged Island, a mans camp must be built first.

“They have to build residences for their workers,” Bannister continued.

“Their workers will go down there, get involved in the demolition.

“They have to barge every piece of equipment into Ragged island before they can do any building. And then they actually have to provide resources for their workers.”

“…And then because of the situation down there, they have to be abele let their workers come up to New Providence every week or every two weeks

“So that is a challenge we face with Raged Island. It is a wonderful challenge for the contractors who are going to be working down there.”

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma barreled into the island, packing winds up to 185 mph.

The Category 5 storm blew off roofs, toppled light poles and flattened homes and key infrastructure.

In the aftermath of the storm, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) deemed the island “uninhabitable”, but the government pledged that it would turn it into a green city.

But not much has changed since the storm hit. When Eyewitness News visited the island in November the island still had no public school, police station, clinic or administrator’s office.

There are currently about 60 plus people living on the island in patched homes.

But Bannister insisted yesterday, “we are looking forward to being able to take the media down there sometime this year, to be able to see when they start making progress.

“It is going to be beautiful . It’s going to be outstanding the buildings that have been designed for Ragged Island.

“…They are looking forward to being able to have something very special in  Ragged Island, hopefully by the end of the year.”

The government has pledged that it will spend $12 million to restore government facilities on the island and $4 million to construct a new school that would double as a shelter.

United States-based company Salt Energy LLC has also been awarded the RFP to build a solar and battery storage solution on the island, that would result in the production of more than 90 percent of the island’s energy requirements.