The government has put things in place to assist residents of Grand Bahama to get their businesses and homes functional again, said Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister on Sunday following a tour of East Grand Bahama. Minister Thompson was a part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis on a tour of East Grand Bahama. Prime Minister and Mrs. Minnis were on island for the funeral of his brother on Saturday.
Also in the delegation were: Member of Parliament for the area, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Peter Turnquest; Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie Campbell; newly-appointed Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Iram Lewis; Mrs. Heather Lewis; along with other senior government officials. Minister Thompson noted that this was the third trip made by Prime Minister Minnis since the passing of Hurricane Dorian and added that he has been able to see the devastation in East Grand Bahama. He said he was pleased to reiterate what the nation’s leader said in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, October 2, with respect to step-by-step initiatives being put in place for Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“We did hear first the plans that were put in place for Abaco and East Grand Bahama, and then we heard again, and I believe to the relief of a number of Grand Bahamians, that it (the contingency order and benefits) had been extended for the entire island of Grand Bahama for one year.” This, he noted, will enable residents and businesses to take advantage of those concessions enabling them to bring in building materials duty free. Additionally, the Customs Department has made arrangements for residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama to buy the items locally duty free.
The Small Business Development Centre, under the Ministry of Finance, will offer loans and grants for those in need. “One of the things which was good today was you were really able to get a first hand view of where people were, where they are now but also send the message that there are things in place that the government has put there to be able to help you get back on your feet. You can continue to get your business back up, your home back up.”