Authored by: Andrew Coakley
Source: Bahamas Information Services
Date: September 2, 2021
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- “Today, we remember. Today, we remember the victims of Hurricane Dorian and we remember the family members of those victims; we remember the survivors of Hurricane Dorian,” said Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson.
His remarks came during a press conference in the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. The day marked the second year of remembrance of the devastation that took place in Abaco and Grand Bahama when the strongest hurricane in Caribbean history passed through those islands, decimating Abaco and parts of East Grand Bahama. Many lives were lost on both islands.
Senator Thompson said that he doubts anyone in The Bahamas would forget that fateful day in Bahamian history, adding that the island of Grand Bahama and the entire country will always remember those who were lost.
“As I have made my way through East Grand Bahama and having the opportunity to speak with those people who survived through Dorian, the personal stories of miracles of survival really speak to the strength, the passion, resilience and determination of those people,” said Senator Thompson.
“But while we remember and pray for those we have lost, we also pull on the encouragement of those who continue to survive. We also want to remember – and this motivates us even to this day – that while there has been a lot of work done during the reconstruction, there is still a lot more work to be done.”
Senator Thompson noted that since that devastating hurricane in September 2019, much work has been done that continues to bring about some semblance of normalcy to the island of Grand Bahama. He pointed out that the Rand Memorial Hospital that was severely damaged by winds and floodwaters from Hurricane Dorian has been completely restored, with plans to continue with the planned four-story expansion for the facility.
Additionally, as a result of Hurricane Dorian, the government has spent in excess of $4.5 million to restore all of the government schools; and budgeted $1.9 million to commence the construction of the East Grand Bahama All-Age School in the High Rock area.
He pointed out that the McLean’s Town administration building has been completely restored, the roads from Freeport to East Grand Bahama have been repaired, the clinics in McLean’s Town and High Rock have all been rebuilt and the Fishing Hole Road Bridge, which was damaged by Hurricane Dorian, has been repaired to a level even more resilient than before.
“I should point out that we are now in a better position to fight hurricanes because we now have a dedicated Ministry and a dedicated Minister who is focused solely on hurricane preparation, disaster relief and reconstruction,” said Senator Thompson.
“In remembering these times, we allow [them] to motivate us to continue to press forward in our relief efforts. We remember and we pray for those families who continue to be affected.”
Also extending sympathy to those families who lost loved ones during Hurricane Dorian, was Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Michael Pintard, who himself remembered being trapped in his home with his family when the flood waters came in East Grand Bahama.
He noted that the past two years have been so difficult for many people in Grand Bahama and Abaco because there are so many people who have still been unable to move back into their homes or to repair their homes.
“I join with my colleagues in reaffirming our commitment to continue to help every single family in Grand Bahama and Abaco to rebuild, community by community,” said Minister Pintard.
“I wish to celebrate all of the friends of The Bahamas who came to our collective rescue in making contributions of their time, as well as resources to help residents rebound. I want to single out the faith-based organizations, who did an incredible job, calling on their international partners to come in and work alongside so many Bahamian volunteers.
“But even today I want to encourage those people who may not have been severely affected, or those who may have been able to repair their homes and who are back on their feet, to help those in Grand Bahama who may still be in need, who may still be in the process of rebuilding. Do not allow your neighbors to suffer in silence.
“To all of those persons who lost loved ones or lost generational wealth that was accumulated, you are in our thoughts. Keep the faith and we will get through this together.”