Presently, Grand Bahamians are going through a tough period.
Admittedly, there are those persons, a relatively small percentage of the island’s population, we emphasize, who have been able to exist as before Hurricane Dorian. They meet household needs; pay monthly bills; provide as per normal, for their children and generally function stress-free.
Then, there are those at the exact opposite end of the social spectrum. They are the displaced ones. They are still living in shelters. Some, (far too many), are still a burden to more affluent family members. Sadly, too, there are those who have been added to the unemployment list.
The long lines at Solomon’s Supermarket in the Sea Horse Plaza, Lucaya, belie the true situation in the island. Based on the letters and emails that come our way, for each person on the line to a cashier at Solomon’s, there are a least double figure numbers unable to find funds with which to shop for groceries.
Many families depend, and now live off the goods provided by the post-Hurricane Dorian variety of distributors. In fact, there are members of the public, quite a lot of them, frankly, who prioritize knowing all of the locations which provide food and other home items. Their mission is to visit them all, each day. So, accordingly a lot of Grand Bahamians who lost everything because of Hurricane Dorian, are subsisting, for the moment.
At some point though, the distribution centers will phase out and reality will hit thousands of Grand Bahamians.
We wonder if the Government of the Bahamas is preparing for the social disorder that might unfold as a result of there being a limited number of distribution centers, or none at all.
Will the government, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness Management and Reconstruction, find a way to keep the relief process, for those in need, ongoing?
Firstly, the government should sort out the convolution regarding NEMA and the new ministry. Both have the responsibility for management during post-disaster periods. Too many cooks for one pot, it seems. Nevertheless, NEMA and the new disaster-addressing ministry are point entities for the government.
We suggest that the government look ahead, and plan accordingly. The horizon appears bleak for Grand Bahama.
Right now, the government is just functioning, regarding disaster issues, from day-to-day.
What is the plan for the future in Grand Bahama, given the rock-bottom position many residents are in?
Is there a plan, at all?
When you’re on the ground and examining thoroughly, communities throughout Grand Bahama, the sad state of affairs becomes clear.
No one could have properly prepared for Hurricane Dorian. It was like no other. We see what is before us though, and, the government is obligated to act in kind. If not, there will be a few more distasteful areas, just like the old International Bazaar and Princess Properties, sooner than later.
This is a tough time, indeed, in Grand Bahama.