Algernon Cargill, Jack Thompson and Kay Forbes-Smith named
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Director of the National Insurance Board (NIB) Algernon Cargill and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jack Thompson will lead the hurricane relief effort as redevelopment coordinators for Abaco while Senate President K. Forbes Smith will lead the effort in Grand Bahama, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address last night.
The address came hours after former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie said they were ready, willing and available to offer any assistance deemed appropriate by the prime minister, including advice and support.
Christie went further, strongly recommending that Minnis create a special unit, with legislative authority to lead recovery efforts in both Grand Bahama and Abaco. He said both units would report to the prime minister so there was no question of influence. He urged Minnis to name Ingraham, the MP for North Abaco for 35 years, to lead the effort in Abaco.
Both former leaders said the destruction left in the wake of Dorian was bigger than one government, and “bigger than us”.
Christie added that if Minnis did not heed his advice, history would judge him harshly. Ingraham said he did not expect Minnis to carve out a role for him in the recovery effort, but was willing to help where necessary.
Both former leaders also encouraged the government to accept every offer of assistance from the international community, noting that The Bahamas was in a position at this time where it could benefit from the technical expertise of many international entities.
Last night, Minnis said the appointment of the coordinators is part of the government’s comprehensive response to in the relief and recovery efforts following Dorian, which decimated parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama between September 1-3.
He acknowledged that The Bahamas “could not, and cannot face this tragedy alone” said advised that the entire government has been mobilized to meet the challenge of recovery in partnership with the international community.
Minnis announced that the government was utilizing disaster management experts from the United States, who previously helped to respond to other major hurricanes, to assist in strengthening the capacity of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
He advised that the U.S. Coast Guard continues to lead air rescue efforts and transport; USAID has continued to provide significant relief supplies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on the ground too with U.S. rescue, aid and security officials.
In addition to thanking the U.S. President Donald Trump, and the American people and government, Minnis thanked thanked the United Kingdom for Her Majesty’s Royal Nacy; CARICOM for its security forces and aid officials; the Dutch for its Royal Navy personnel; Canada for its assistance, and the United Nations.
Noting that Abaco and Grand Bahamas has been destroyed by one of the “gravest tragedies in our history”, Minnis said the focus must be to rebuild lives, and to rebuild those islands even stronger.