Inclement weather delays three shipments
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bimini Island Administrator Cleola Pinder said today that officials on the island have been preparing for the extended lockdown on the island and have implemented measures to ensure no resident is disadvantaged.
The lockdown on Bimini will begin at 9pm on Monday, May 19, and end at midnight on May 30.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Pinder said: “We actually have been planning for a while and putting plans in place to make sure no one is disenfranchised or is at a disadvantage. And so, what we did is we’re establishing a pantry here on the island.”
According to Pinder, social services personnel will distribute emergency coupons.
Once the coupons have been exhausted, officials will distribute care packages and other supplies from the pantry to residents who remain in need or were unable to qualify for the emergency coupons.
“We don’t want anyone to panic,” Pinder said.
“They will have access to whatever their needs are, so that’s what we’re trying to achieve here.”
Just over 2,000 people reside on Bimini.
Three mail boats were expected to deliver to the island from Grand Bahama, New Providence and the United States to shore up food store supplies.
But those vessels have been unable to make the delivery due to inclement weather.
“The weather has been really, really bad, so the mail boat that has all of the groceries is still trying to get here to Bimini, and it looks like it may try to make an attempt tomorrow,” Pinder said.
“I think Sunday may clear up a bit, but they’re trying to make an attempt to get in here tomorrow or Saturday.
However, the administrator said the delay delivery is not cause for panic as the food stores have adequate supplies for at least three weeks.
“We will be fine for the weekend,” she said
“Stores have about three weeks of food, and so, you have a few stores that have some supplies, which will cover us for the weekend until the boats get here.
“We have a number of donations. We also have the mail boat out of the U.S., which also has groceries.
“I know they made an attempt last night to come in as well and the weather did not permit them. They are going to try again tonight, so we will see.”
The two-week lockdown is the longest shelter-in-place order the country has seen since the governor general declared a state of emergency on March 17.
Essential “care workers” have been assigned to help residents with special needs, including obtaining medication for example.
To ensure compliance, additional police have been deployed to Bimini.
The clinic will remain open for emergencies.
Acknowledging the lockdown was lengthy, Pinder said: “We are going to try to make it as painless as possible. We’re going to have Zoom meetings.
“I know the representative is putting together some activities that persons can do during the day via Zoom. What we are doing is we have a team of persons who are referred to as the essential care volunteers and they will be through the community helping people with special needs.”
“We have thought it out; not that it’s a complete plan, but it’s something that is a working action plan.
“As we come up with things that we may not have thought about or someone says ‘okay, you didn’t think about this’, we will say okay we can put that in place.
We’re working with the residents and we don’t want anyone to feel that they don’t have access.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced two-week lockdown for Bimini after two new cases were confirmed on the island today.
There have been 13 COVID-19 cases on Bimini.
As health officials labelled Bimini an “emerging hotspot” West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe called for a two-week lockdown to prevent the further spread of the virus on the small island.
As of yesterday, there have been 96 cases of the virus in The Bahamas.