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Rebuilding Ragged Island To Cost Tens Of Millions

Conditions on Ragged Island in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.

Conditions on Ragged Island in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.

By Khrisna Russell

THE Minnis administration’s proposed plan to restore hurricane-ravaged Ragged Island will cost tens of millions of dollars and currently involves the private sector along with international partners, Works Minister Desmond Bannister told reporters yesterday.

Responding to critics who insist the government is not working fast enough to restore the small island to normalcy - among them Progressive Liberal Party Deputy Leader I Chester Cooper - the minister said officials are working to ensure Ragged Island is rebuilt properly.

Last week, Mr Cooper highlighted many of the challenges present in his constituency. Government buildings are still in ruins, there is insufficient water supply and electricity issues are prevalent among other things.

Mr Cooper also lambasted Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis saying his promises to rebuild the island while at the same time converting it to a green island “amounted to nothing more than empty talk”.

“I heard the comments by Mr Cooper,” Mr Bannister said ahead of the morning session of Cabinet yesterday. “They were very unfortunate. The government has a number of private sector partners who are working with us to ensure that Ragged Island is rebuilt properly. I think all of you went to Ragged Island and you saw how the buildings were initially put up. We have to ensure that we build according to code now.

“We also are ensuring that there is amazing input and assistance to those people and so you’re going to see some of the biggest companies in the world get involved in the Ragged Island project and when you see Ragged Island again in a short while it is going to be an example that we can follow for the rest of the world what we are doing down there.”

Asked if there was a timeline for this work to be finished, Mr Bannister said there was not because “human factors are involved”.

He added: “For example the Carbon War Room is involved. Tesla is involved. A number of things are involved that require international input and I can tell you that the people who are leading this are very, very concerned about Ragged Island, but they’re also concerned that if Ragged Island is hit by another hurricane we are not going to see that kind of devastation (again).”

Earlier this month, Water and Sewerage Corporation Assistant General Manager of Family Island Operations Cyprian Gibson told The Tribune Ragged Island residents will have to wait another 90 days before water supply on the island is back to normal.

However, Ellery Lockhart, a spokesperson for a group of descendants who have banded together to get the island back to normal, claimed WSC is only generating eight gallons of water per hour every day. This, he said, is “totally inadequate” to meet the needs of the island.

But Mr Gibson said WSC is producing far more water – 700 gallons each day – which, he said, is only to meet critical needs.

The dilemma, he explained, lies in the fact the water provider’s plant was completely destroyed by Irma and a temporary plant was put in while a new permanent facility is being completed. He said there are also plans to upgrade the plant for increased resiliency.

In September days after the category five storm barreled through the island, Dr Minnis said health and safety conditions in Ragged Island rendered the island unliveable.

Despite this, residents were determined to go back home immediately to rebuild despite the decimation left behind.

Chief Councillor Demison Nesbitt said at the time it was “foolishness” for anyone to consider the island uninhabitable.

Following this, Dr Minnis further outlined in Parliament his administration’s plans, explaining renewable energy and smart technology from solar energy and sustainable water purification systems will be utilised for this effort with the help of residents and descendants of the island.

To further support these efforts, Dr Minnis said the government would seek not only the assistance of Bahamians, but look to international counterparts.

However, he did not reveal a cost to be associated with this undertaking, adding Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest would offer details at a later date on the price tag of Hurricane Irma’s related costs. To date, the finance minister has not revealed this element.

Comments

sheeprunner12 12 months ago

Tens of millions to rebuild a cay with one street, 20 homes and 50 inhabitants???????

If each Ragged Island descendant (say 3,000 persons) donate $1,000 each ........ the Government will have its money to rebuild the cay ......... smt.

What in the hell do these pie-in-the-sky fools plan to waste money on again??????

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Baha10 12 months ago

With all due respect to Ragged Islanders, not too sure re-building makes such sense, particularly as most of the Natives from there had long since left even prior to the Storm, so I reckon there is little chance, if any, of them returning now.

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VDSheep 12 months ago

Encourage everyone to rebuild Ragged Island - and every family island community! That is the only way this country will grow! Just do it!

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TorontoGal 12 months ago

I agree with you VDSheep. Rebuild Rugged Island as a sustainable, eco island as an example of what the other Family Islands could work toward. This will help the Bahamas in so many ways; employment being the number one issue.

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ThisIsOurs 12 months ago

Nobody is stopping anyone from doing what they want to do. It certainly hasn't been declared illegal to rebuild your home on ragged Island. The IDB simply said, "we don't think it's wise to spend our money there" and just as it's the right of the residents to make their own decision on where to live, it's the right of the IDb to say how they will spend their money.

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John2 12 months ago

The cost should not be a impediment to the rebuilding of Ragged Island. Take out your maps or google its position. Ragged Island is strategically located. in the south west Bahamas and we cant afford to leave an inch of its territory uninhabited .Public Private partnerships can complete the rebuilding of the IDB does not want to fund its redevelopment. Every inch of Bahamian land and sea should be protected from unscrupoulous poachers, drug smurglers foreign interest and illiegal immirgrants and what is not developed in a sustainable way musts be preserved for future generations. May i remind you readers that there are billions of people around the world who would gladly change places with you to come and live in this blessed gem on planet earth we call the Bahamas !

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Chucky 12 months ago

youre living in dreamland John2, there are not billions of people who would want to live in the Bahamas. Notice Lyford Cay is likely one of the highest income per capita subdivisions in the world, the people can afford essentially anything they want, and they don't wanna live there. The majority of them can only stand a few weeks here a few times a year.
Our people are some of the nastiest in the world, our land is flat and barren, on a regional standard we have some of the ugliest Islands. Don't believe me, try and travel the Caribbean and see what's there. The only people that would "gladly change places" are coming in droves via the Haitian sloops, and these droves of people are made to realize how much they are wanted every day. You are a typical @ss who's arrogance and delusion drive your mouth (or in this case your keyboard). Why don't you ask a foreigner how much they like participating with our population. You will undoubtedly learn something about how they feel about our greedy, entitled , lazy , corrupt people, and in addition you will learn how they feel about getting the run around by everyone from the cable company when hooking up their cable, to the licensing dept, to the immigration dept etc etc etc. The Bahamas is a dump, our people are sh!t, and we are on a race to the bottom. We'd have been much further ahead to have begged the British to have kept us as a territory, take a look at Bermuda, BVI, Turks etc etc etc, all much nicer places to be. Admittedly, the Turks is the same type of geographical wasteland, (flat barren land, and also has imported palms, sound familiar). Get a grip, lose the arrogant attitude, humble yourself and try and be decent and productive, then convince the other 400000 to do the same, and we may one day be a truly desirable place for those other than the poorest people in the world.

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John2 12 months ago

My brief statement above was looking at the Bahamas from a geographical perspective. I see why you call your self chucky, you inpersonate the evil of the character chucky . I would be the first to tell you that the Bahamas is not a perfect country but so is no other. we are are working of our faults and getting them right slowly but surly, but as a so called Bahamian which i dought you are why do you speak such vile rubbish about your country and people. I can see from your reply that there are some issues like your personal finances that are bitting you in the face at the moment and maybe they are not bitting you hard enough. you have called me arrogant but your are ignorant about the positive aspects of your country. you thrive on the negative !

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ThisIsOurs 12 months ago

Exactly, everyone has the right to determine how they will spend their own money. And if someone determines the risk of repeat total destruction is too great to invest millions, that is their right. If the government "can" find someone else willing to take the risk more power to them

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Observer 12 months ago

Sheeprunner should stick to running sheep. Obviously that person does no know ragged island. The one street cay , perhaps, is where the 'runner' hales from. This sheeprunner is ignorant, with respect to Ragged Island.

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sheeprunner12 12 months ago

Observer, there is enough online video, government data, Google Earth, maps etc. out there to educate anyone who cares to know about anywhere on Planet Earth ...... Ragged Island has one street, it has less than 50 inhabitants and geographically, it qualifies as a cay ........ Compare it with any of the other inhabited "cays" in Eleuthera, Abaco or Berrys etc. .......... Check your knowledge of the place.

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hrysippus 12 months ago

Does Chester Cooper want things done,. ... ... To justify the seat he won,. ....... So how much of his own money has he spent? ......... Or low cost loans to the displaced lent? ...... ... It's very easy to run your mouth, . ..... ... About this island in the south. .. ...... There comes a point where money talks, ... ........ And empty platitudes should walk. ........... ..........

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sheeprunner12 12 months ago

Ragged Island has strategic location importance in The Bahamas ......... It is being developed as a military outpost by the previous governments ....... The FNM should complete it and let the town grow organically from the military investment ......... Why is everything to be done in this country made out to be so costly????? ......... The Government cannot be Santa Claus to all.

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