Pledge conference rakes in $364,000 in cash and deposits

Pledge conference rakes in $364,000 in cash and deposits
The Mudd, Abaco, following Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has received some $364,000 in cash and deposits from the $1.8 billion pledged at a United Nations private sector pledging conference earlier this year, according to Managing Director of the Disaster reconstruction Authority Kay Forbes-Smith.

The funds received was among financing and in-kind services pledged to aid the government in recovery efforts in the aftermath of deadly Hurricane Dorian – which ravaged Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September.

During a press conference advising of recovery efforts post-Dorian, Forbes-Smith gave a breakdown of those pledges.

Of the revised $1.8 billion raised, $41 million was in grants, $1.3 billion in public-private partnerships, $51 million in technical assistance, $400 million in other forms of assistance and 364,000 in cash, she revealed.

Forbes-Smith however did not indicate the names of the organizations that made these pledges.

She told reporters on the sidelines of the event, “Only when the pledges have actually taken route and we have it in and we have agreements, then we will make those things public in terms of the names of where we got it from.”

The pledges include initiatives in home-building and repair; educational assistance; renewable energy partnerships; relief aid; grants; direct assistance to storm victims; parks restoration; loans and financing.

“It is up to the Authority and the Government to determine which pledges are best for The Bahamas,” Forbes-Smith said.

“Discussions are ongoing with the various local and international groups that pledged.”

The largest of the pledges made was a controversial public private partnership proposed by The P3 Group Inc., under a lease purchase agreement

The $975 million pledge would see the company owning whatever project it invests in until the government could repay the money through revenue gained.

Among the proposed investments is $670 million for healthcare facilities.

Asked about the discussions over this proposed project, Forbes-Smith said, “The Disaster Reconstruction Authority has not formally gone into any detailed discussions with that particular group or many of them on the list, so it’s something that’s a work in progress and we continue to work with these group.”

She noted that the authority has yet to dig deep enough into any of these pledges to determine what they may or may not accept.

She said the DRA is in the process of beefing up its staff and expects that process to be in high gear within the next three months to begin the donations review in earnest.