PM: Govt. working “extremely hard” to restore islands

PM: Govt. working “extremely hard” to restore islands
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

Marsh Harbour airport to reopen to intl. flights before weekend

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Amid criticisms that government is moving too slow to recover Grand Bahama and Abaco, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis declared yesterday his administration continues to work “extremely hard” and efficiently to recover those islands decimated by Hurricane Dorian more than two months ago.

“We are actively working to get these economic engines working,” said Minnis, during the morning session of Parliament.

“Some people may visit Abaco and then say, looking at Marsh Harbour, that we are not doing anything. You must remember that the southern end of Abaco is functional. The northern end is functional. The lights in the Cooper’s Town area was connected and functional Sunday, so, Cooper’s Town is now enjoying air condition.”

The prime minister noted North Abaco port and Marsh Harbour port had reopened.

He also announced the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour, which sustained substantial damage during Dorian in September, will reopen to international flights before the upcoming “weekend or soon after”.

In the aftermath of the storm, the airport was made operable and select, approved relief and recovery flights allowed to land.

As of October, the airport began to receive small numbers of passengers.

Minnis travelled to Abaco over the weekend, holding town meetings in Green Turtle Cay, Guana Cay, Man-O-War Cay and Elbow Cay. He said he will continue to hold town meetings to dispel the “fake news being circulated” and allow the government to update residents on the progress of reconstruction and what is being done related to their communities.

He said evidence of piles of debris in Marsh Harbour give the impression the government is not working, but “your government is working smartly”.

“We have been working extremely hard, especially in the cays,” Minnis said.

“The cays are the economic engine for Abaco. Elbow Cay for example has in excess of 400 individuals and between the cays, they hire thousands of individuals. It is essential get those engines running because Marsh Harbour itself is a conduit…”

Minnis said he will hold regular town meetings in communities affected in Abaco and Grand Bahama as the government, its agencies and international partners continue recovery and reconstruction efforts.

In his contribution to debate on the Disaster Reconstruction Authority Bill, 2019, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine accused the government of moving a snail’s pace concerning the recovery and reconstruction of the affected islands.

As it relates to legislative, policy and administrative changes in the aftermath of the storm, Minnis said his administration will not be deterred by naysayers.

He said: “The naysayers will not deter us. We have entered I-95 and there will be no exit. It’s all ahead. We see the finish line and we will move toward that finish line.”

He added: “The consequences of inaction or inadequate action are too great. We must act to save lives and to lessen suffering. We will do what is best for the Bahamian people who entrusted us with the awesome responsibility to govern and to act in promotion of the common good.”