PM Minnis: The Bahamas cannot face this tragedy alone


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will arrive in Nassau on Friday to meet with Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis and other government officials, the Prime Minister revealed last night in a national update on Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery efforts. The Secretary General and his delegation will also visit Abaco and Grand Bahama during the two-day trip to The Bahamas.

United Nations teams are already on the ground in The Bahamas to help with hurricane relief efforts. The UN has also pledged $1 million in aid. “Because of the massive devastation, The Bahamas could not, and cannot face this tragedy alone,” said the Prime Minister. “We have mobilized the entire government to meet this challenge, in partnership with the international community.” To help strengthen the capacity of NEMA, the Government is utilizing disaster management experts from the United States who previously helped to respond to other major hurricanes, said Prime Minister Minnis.

Because of their specialty equipment and resources, the US Coast Guard has been leading air rescues and transport within the disaster zone. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing significant relief supplies. Members of the FBI are also in The Bahamas, along with other US rescue, aid and security officials.
“We thank the American people and government for their generosity,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “President Trump has authorized the full support of the Government of the United States.”

“On behalf of the Bahamian people, I say thank you, to the United Kingdom, for sending Her Majesty’s Royal Navy, and CARICOM, for its security forces and aid officials. “I thank also, the Royal Dutch Navy and the Canadian Government for coming to our aid.” Prime Minister Minnis noted that the combined efforts of the Government and international community have focused on search and rescue. The focus is now shifting to recovery, stabilization and restoration.

The Prime Minister said the outpouring of the aid and generosity from thousands of Bahamians and others overseas has been extraordinary; however, he acknowledged that there have been problems in the coordination of this aid due to magnitude of this devastation. “I understand, the deep frustration of those who have had to deal with bureaucratic roadblocks,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We are aggressively shredding the red tape that is frustrating many who want to help. We are fixing these problems and bringing in extra personnel and capacity to direct the aid from private citizens, corporate donors, international agencies, and foreign governments.” The Prime Minister emphasized the need to follow certain procedures to get assistance to
Abaco and Grand Bahama as effectively as possible and to avoid further problems.

Prime Minister Minnis encouraged all in the corporate community who wish to donate funds to assist with relief and recovery efforts, to directly contact NEMA, or a reputable charitable group, such as the Bahamas Red Cross and the Salvation Army. An accounting firm, will have oversight of and will report regularly on how monetary donations are being used, said the Prime Minister. This is to ensure transparency and accountability.

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