DUNCAN TOWN, RAGGED ISLAND – The Salvation Army has committed to building a community centre in Ragged Island that can serve as a hurricane shelter, a temporary school and temporary clinic.
The venture was announced during a Town Hall Meeting in Duncan Town yesterday.
The island remains in a shuttered state two years after Hurricane Irma devastated the community, destroying homes, the public school, the clinic, the administrator’s office and the police station.
“We have a sponsor to help us with some funds to build a small community building,” said Major Clarence Ingram of the Salvation Army.
“A building that could possibly act as a hurricane shelter…It could substitute for a small school until a proper school is built and it could have a room or two for a clinic.
“So in some ways it might be a bit of a transition, but in some ways it will provide some stability.”
Ingram said while the amount donated may not be enough to build something extravagant, it will be enough to aid the 60 people community to get back on its feet.
Exumas & Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper, who hosted the town hall, noted that the building will be built to withstand 200 mph winds.
Cooper also pledged that his company BAF Financial would donate $20,000 to the project.
The government announced a similar plan in June, pledging that it will spend $4 million to construct a new school in Ragged Island that will double as a shelter.
Following the storm, which cost the government an estimated $135 million, Prime Minister Dr. Huber Minnis declared Ragged Island unlivable, though he vowed that it will be rebuilt.
He pledged that the island will be made a “green city”.
Months later, government officials said it will cost tens of millions of dollars to realize that vision, but little information has been provided on how the promised green city would be achieved.
Bahamas Power and Light announced in August that U.S.-based company Salt Energy LLC had been awarded the RFP to build a solar and battery storage solution on Ragged Island.
The agreement would result in the production of more than 90 percent of the island’s energy requirements when done.
There were just over 20 people at the town hall, held in the 18 pew church yesterday.