PM: Govt. making “steady progress” in post-Dorian redevelopment

PM: Govt. making “steady progress” in post-Dorian redevelopment
The Abaco islands post-Hurricane Dorian. (PHOTO: PHILIPP HUBNER)

BLACKWOOD, ABACO — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis on Friday said $11 million has been spent and hundreds of homeowners assisted so far under the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s (DRA) Small Home Repairs Program for Grand Bahama and Abaco residents impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis (left) and Esther Ann Cornish Laing during a handover ceremony for a donated home on Abaco, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (BIS PHOTO)

Minnis was speaking at a handover ceremony of “Bahama House” to Blackwood resident Esther Ann Cornish Laing, who lost her home in September 2019 during Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.

The home was donated by the Beck Foundation, the charitable arm of the Beck Group Ltd, which is led by Bahamian CEO Fred Perpall.

Minnis said the government is grateful for the generous assistance of the private sector and non-profits.

“Such generosity is a part of a much broader and larger home rebuilding and housing program funded and led by the government of The Bahamas,” he said.

Working with various partners, the DRA has provided 150 temporary housing domes on Abaco and its cays, and 20 homes for families at Sweeting’s Cay and East Grand Bahama, noted the prime minister.

Two 60-acre sites in Spring City and Wilson City, Abaco, have been identified for permanent housing, and through a public-private partnership with the Discovery Land Company, 46 homes are being developed and will be gifted to 46 families, he added.

The government is also committed to repairing and providing logistical support to 250 homes in Cooper’s Town, Blackwood and Fire Road, Abaco, according to Minnis.

“We still have a long road ahead. But along this road of rebuilding and recovery will be newly restored and new homes for Bahamians,” he said.

The Beck Foundation has been involved in restoration efforts on Abaco from just days after Hurricane Dorian. To-date they have donated food, clothing, 40 generators, portable water supplies and other perishable goods.

The “Bahama House” home is a custom design specifically for The Bahamas and frequent hurricanes, said Minnis. It is also designed to reflect the best elements of Bahamian architecture.

The 1,250 square-foot “Bahama House” home donated to Blackwood resident Esther Ann Cornish Laing by the Beck Foundation. (BIS PHOTO)

“This home was built for resilience as we continue to rebuild Abaco and parts of Grand Bahama in the midst of the great challenge of climate change,” Minnis said.

The 1,250 square-foot home has been wind-tested to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. It was built by the Beck Group in Dallas, Texas, at Factory Blue and then transported from the US to Marsh Harbour. The house was installed in Blackwood by SAGOMA Construction.

The total value of the house, including furnishing, fixtures and equipment is approximately $180,000.

“Bahama House represents the quality and kinds of corporate and non-profit partnerships which are helping to redevelop and to revitalize Abaco after the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history,” Minnis said.

“As I noted in the immediate aftermath of Dorian, the unprecedented nature and magnitude of the hurricane required public-private collaboration and partnerships between The Bahamas and other governments and international agencies.”