Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe on Sunday, expressed relief to The Freeport News, that her constituents were spared a direct hit by Hurricane Irma.
Early on Sunday, it became clear that the course Irma had shifted to would not present grave problems for The Bahamas. At 8 a.m., Hurricane Irma was located 160 miles west southwest of South Bimini, 220 miles southwest of West End, Grand Bahama and 260 miles west of New Providence, moving toward the northwest at approximately eight miles per hour.
Still though, she urged them to remain inside their homes until NEMA issues an ‘All Clear’ communication.
“My team and I would have been in contact with both Administrator Bullard-Colebrooke (WGB) and Administrator Williamson (Bimini), who have been keeping us abreast of all that has been going on in their respective areas.
“As far as Bimini, is concerned conditions there have worsened and heavy winds as well as rainfall continues to affect the island.
“Of course we have been advised that there are several downed power and telephone lines for BPL (Bahamas Power & Light) and BTC (Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd.,) and as such, electricity is out on that island.
“Additionally, there is flooding in the streets of Bimini particularly in low lying and flood-prone zones such as the Straw & Craft Market. In fact, video footage sent to us clearly provides visual proof of the reports received thus far.
“Heavy tides continue to roll in. However, I thank God that everyone is indeed safe on the island of Bimini at the hour,” said the MP.
While both Bimini and Grand Bahama remained under tropical storm warning, as Hurricane Irma continued to unleash her fury on Florida, , Parker-Edgecombe did however breathe a sigh of relief knowing her constituents were safe and adhering to the advisories issued.
Speaking to the conditions of West Grand Bahama, Parker-Edgecombe stated the following:
“Three shelters remain open in West Grand Bahama namely; the Church of God of Prophecy, Sea Grape, the Eight Mile Rock High School Gymnasium, Martin Town and the Church of God of Prophecy, Pinedale.
“Shelter managers have reported that between all three shelters there are a total of 60 persons utilizing such, up to last evening and everyone is being effectively assisted.
“Administrator Bullard-Colebrooke also noted that members of the West Grand Bahama Local Government Council team have been able to move about throughout the community, scouring neighbors in an effort to keep abreast of all that has transpired thus far.
“For the most part residents are faring well and, we do anticipate higher wind gusts and rainfall as the evening progresses. Hence we are all remaining hunkered down and we are bracing ourselves for the further deterioration of the weather as forecast by meteorological experts.”
Parker-Edgecombe issued a warning regarding the Fishing Hole Roadway, where the new bridge is under construction. She advised against (unless absolutely necessary), travel along the Fishing Hole Roadway, pointing out the history of the water rising above the level of the road during hurricane conditions.
“Normally when tides are high the Fishing Hole Road always has a problem and as the weather conditions worsens and tidal swells occur, flooding is expected to affect that area.
“As it stands, Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) officials led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour has indicated that the Fishing Hole Road is passable at this time. However, it is being closely monitored by law enforcement,” informed Parker-Edgecombe.
“Regarding employers, she appealed to them to give workers flexibility of hours until the NEMA “All Clear” sign is given.
“Definitely it is unconscionable at this particular time, with the state of the weather continuing to worsen and uncertainty remaining at an all time high in light of Hurricane Irma, for employers to call their employees into the work.
“We do not subscribe to employees being called into the various business establishments, especially under these weather conditions as no one can determine what could transpire on our streets as the day progresses and a tropical storm warning remains in effect for Grand Bahama and Bimini.
“To all employers I am urging them to please think about the safety of their employees, who should remain at home with their families, as instructed by our meteorological experts, NEMA and RBPF Deputy Commissioner Seymour.
“Rather than putting employees lives at risk, we are calling on all employers to refrain from this unconscionable practice immediately and, until the “All Clear’ has indeed been officially issued, we encourage workers to remain at home, as it is best to do so and provide service in your respective fields of employment after everyone is cleared to do so,” MP Parker-Edgecombe concluded.