In one breath, Disaster Reconstruction Authority Chairman John Clarke acknowledges that temporary homes for those in need, domes, have been provided thus far, only for Abaco.
This was not a joint effort by the government through the Authority, for Grand Bahama as well, to bring comfort to the depressed and displaced residents of East Grand Bahama (McLean’s Town and Pelican Point).
No, not at all.
“Everyone knows that we have used the domes for Abaco, and that is not saying that Grand Bahama will be left out of the domes.”
So, said Clarke during an Authority-sponsored workshop, as reported by The Freeport News.
So, why weren’t the domes shared?
Did those who are looking out for the interest of Abaco residents, lobby harder than the representatives of Grand Bahama?
Did the Authority just arbitrarily decide that Abaco would be first, and, the residents of East Grand Bahama would be attended too later? This is clearly a case of Grand Bahama once again being put on the back-burner.
We do not protest assistance being provided the residents of Abaco. It’s just that whatever assistance the government provided one, the other should get as well.
If there are 10 domes available, give Abaco five and East Grand Bahama the other five. The residents of both Abaco and Grand Bahama, who were left without homes because the devastating Hurricane Dorian, have the same needs. They all would like to have a dome facility on their properties, while they seek to reconstruct damaged homes.
So, the argument could well be made that there were not enough domes for the entire lot of residents who were left homeless. Well, that’s understood. However, we submit that the Authority should have provided Abaco with some, and, Grand Bahama with the rest of the initial batch of domes.
Yes, it is agreed, that in such a case, that would have meant dissatisfaction, for some of those for which domes were not made available. There would though have been hope, though, for all concerned to see some evidence of the temporary assistance, domes on properties.
If the decision was to take care of Abaco first, then admit that.
Don’t contradict the reality by saying it is a misconception to think Grand Bahama will be left out, or be made to wait. We say to Clarke: Acknowledge that Grand Bahama has indeed been placed on the back-burner and has to wait, once again, for assistance.
Authority Managing Director Kate Smith expressed the desire for “people (of Grand Bahama, supposedly) to be measured in their openness about what is available at the moment.”
What does that mean?
We think Smith’s comment amounts to an even greater emphasis, that the displaced residents of McLean’s Town and Pelican Point will have to wait their turn.
They are on the back-burner, for sure.