Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator J. Kwasi Thompson led Emergency Operations Command Center (EOC) agents in providing an up-to-date assessment report of the Northern Bahamas post Hurricane Irma on Monday September 11.
Comforted by the fact that the Northern Bahama Islands of Grand Bahama, Bimini and Abaco were spared the direct impact of Hurricane Irma, a bevy of representatives of restoration partners joined Thompson in passing out the latest data relevant to post-Hurricane Irma activities.
Represented were the Grand Bahama Power Co. Ltd. (GBPC), Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), Department of Meteorology, Grand Bahama Utility Co. Ltd., Royal Bahamas Police Force, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), Ministry of Tourism, Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS), Department of Social Services, Ministry of Works, BTC, Ministry of Education, Island Administrators (Central, East and West), Cable Bahamas and Aliv.
They gave reports based on preliminary assessments of their respective jurisdictions and further disclosed strategies moving forward to help assist with restoration efforts.
Senator Thompson explained the initiative.
“Thankfully, we have been given the ‘All Clear’ after Hurricane Irma and now, I want to update the general public particularly those in Grand Bahama and the Northern Bahama Islands of Bimini and Abaco regarding post-Hurricane Irma Clean-up and Restoration.
“Indeed this is very important as the public needs to be informed of what is happening in terms of such and I am happy to have all the aforementioned stakeholders here with us to provide an update.”
With Grand Bahama faring relatively well during the passage of Hurricane Irma, the key agencies gave their reports. In particular, GBPA President Ian Rolle outlined preparedness and post hurricane efforts of City Services pertaining to island-wide clean-up initiatives.
“Prior to the storm, Sanitation Services doubled up on its resources as it relates to bulk trash collection; allowing residential customers with bulk garbage to deliver them to the landfill free of charge until Saturday (September 9).
“This effort proved very beneficial in regards to our clean-up initiatives prior to the storm. Residential services actually commenced this morning (Monday September 11) beginning at 8:00 a.m.. with bulk trash collection services occurring at 10:00 a.m. Debris removal on the streets of Grand Bahama commenced at 7:30 a.m..
“Work crews got together to assess the situation very early this morning (Monday) and moved to clean up the limited debris that was on our streets. The only major challenges we had, occurred on the Bayshore Road, Pinder’s Point. However that is being addressed.
“In regards to City Services (Building & Development) there was minor damage to buildings and there was an assessment done from the central area to the harbour. With the exception of the areas affected by the tornado activity there was no significant damage.
“The tornado caused damage to five buildings and the electrical system of the same.
“The Colina Insurance Building has also been affected, but has restricted use. The Imperial Gardens building also has restricted use and two other buildings sustained moderate damage.
“The Lodge Hall building on East Sunrise encountered damage from the tornado activity and its entire electrical supply has been totally destroyed. The east section of the roof sustained significant damage as well,” stated Rolle, who also noted that the Port Group of Companies will be open for business today (Tuesday September 12) beginning at 8:30 a.m..
Members of the public with concerns regarding water supply, infrastructural damages etcetera were advised by Rolle to telephone 727-4477, 727-4422, 801-9000/1 and the City Management helpline at 352-2000.
The GBPA President thanked all stakeholders for working together.
“Indeed I would like to thank Senator Thompson, Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, Parliamentary Secretaries Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and Iram Lewis, Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture Michael Pintard, President of the Bahamas Hotel Cooperation, Administrators Preston Cunningham, Harvey Roberts and Brenda Bullard-Colebrooke as well as all coordinators who worked diligently in these meetings,” said Rolle who noted also that the efforts have been beneficial not only to the City of Freeport but the entire island of Grand Bahama.