“Supplemental borrowing” to come this month

“Supplemental borrowing” to come this month
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — When Parliament resumes on January 29, the government will table a resolution to borrow $50 million from the Caribbean Development Bank to finance Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquet.

The loan is expected to supplement lost income and hurricane expenditure as a result of the Category 5 storm.

In November, the minister noted the fiscal year deficit ballooned to $677.5 million as a result of the deadly storm, which prompted the Minnis administration to borrow $507.9 million to address the shortfall.

“It should be on the 29th; when we come back that should be the first order of business,” Turnquest said.

When asked how the funds will be used specifically, Turnquest responded: “So, I’ll leave the specifics of that to the minister responsible, minister Iram Lewis, who can outline exactly what the plan is; the timeframes; the allocations in terms of the breakdown of the amount that will be allocated to his ministry in particular to assist residents to rebuild infrastructure.

“I’ll leave that to them. I think that will be more appropriate.”

Dorian leveled communities in Abaco and Grand Bahama on September 1-3, killing at least 71 people.

An estimated 30,000 people were impacted.

The estimated cost of the damage and lost income as a result of Dorian has been pegged at $3.4 billion.

More than $12 million in assistance will be required to repair houses damaged by the storm, according to the government.

The government is in the process of erecting a $6.4 million Family Relief Center in Spring City, Abaco to house up to 1,000 residents.

Many storm evacuees have expressed a desire to return home and rebuild.

Meanwhile, Turnquest noted the road to recovery will be long.

Addressing criticisms of the government’s pace to rebuild and repair infrastructure and homes, the deputy prime minister urged the public to look at other countries which have undergone significant natural disasters and the timeline it took to bounce back.