Former National Coordinator for Hurricane Relief and Recovery Efforts, Shane Gibson, in Grand Bahama on an occasion during the height of the restoration talks, said former Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville had spent almost a million dollars on clean-up efforts.
The statement came as a huge surprise because up to that point, the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the Grand Bahama Power Company were the lead players in the island restoration program. Dr. Darville, through the Permanent Secretary Melvin Seymour did eventually attend to the processing of construction supplies for citizens whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Matthew, last October.
However the minister was never able to justify the “almost $million clean-up” comment by Gibson. In this space, we asked for an explanation. None came. This was one of the extraordinary circumstances that Grand Bahama voters were just unable to wrap their heads around.
Accordingly, voters were just not on the same page as the government Dr. Darville and Gibson served under. The former Progressive Liberal Party Government under Prime Minister Perry Christie left too many questions. Too many situations were left hanging
What happened to all of the hurricane funds?
Is there a report that can substantiate the spending?
The present Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office charged with following up on matters related to the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Kwasi Thompson, held a press briefing last week. Center to his remarks was “$1,000,000.00 paid to one particular person for clean-up.”
“It is also important for the public to know how the hurricane relief funds have been spent to date. In my preliminary assessment, the manner in which these funds were instructed to be spent, was quite disturbing. It was alarming that funds to the tune of well over $1,000,000.00 was paid to one particular person for clean-up, without any scope of works on file, no bids submitted, no written verification from the Ministry of Works,” disclosed Thompson.
This is indeed a shady-looking situation.
At the least, on behalf of Grand Bahamians, the open-ended situations must be addressed. It was difficult to get detailed spending reports from the previous government. Across the board, this was the case.
Too many of the questions voiced by the voters of the nation went unanswered by the previous government. Hopefully the government they voted for will turn over every rock to get the answers.