By MATT MAURA
Bahamas Information Services
AN exigency order will be issued “as soon as possible” to assist Bahamian fishermen negatively affected by Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Wednesday.
The order will allow for the purchase of traps and fishing materials, and equipment destroyed as a result of the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Prime Minister Minnis said his administration is “well aware” of the fact that Irma affected a number of Bahamian fishing communities in the midst of the vital crawfish season.
An application for assistance must be filed to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) through the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.
Dr Minnis also said the government is committed to providing relief to the nation’s farmers once the assessments have been completed.
Meanwhile, speaking in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Dr Minnis said Bahamas Power and Light had informed the government that repairs have been completed in Acklins, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Andros and Bimini while officials at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) are reporting that broadband services throughout The Bahamas have been restored with some exceptions.
Broadband services have been restored at Mortimer’s, Long Island, except for intermittent degraded services. Replacement equipment has already been shipped to Long Island with full restoration scheduled.
Mobile services have been restored to Long Island and fully restored on Ragged Island. 3G Service is being optimised on Ragged Island and will be completed by month’s end. Fixed services have been restored on Bimini. Power issues are responsible for some degradation in service, however.
On Acklins, 53 per cent of mobile services have been restored. Teams are currently working on full restoration. Fifteen customers are waiting for restoration of their mobile services on Long Cay.
The optimisation of services in Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay (MICAL) is continuing, officials report.
Meanwhile, officials at the Water and Sewerage Corporation report that the only major damage to its assets in the storm-affected areas was to the Ragged Island Desalination Plant. A temporary plant was installed on Monday. The permanent plant is being refurbished and is scheduled to be in operation by the end of October.
Several key government agencies have been engaged in the “large-scale, clean-up” of Ragged Island – including the disposal of dead animals, which could have posed significant public health hazards for residents on the island.
The teams comprise marines from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, along with personnel from the Ministry of Health and other government agencies, who are clearing a path for teams from BTC and BPL to restore the basic utilities that are required for the long-term restoration of the island.
Dr Minnis has promised to transform Ragged Island into a model for sustainable community by rebuilding it into the first “fully green island in the region.”
He said this will be accomplished through the use of renewable energy and smart technologies from solar energy, to sustainable water purification systems.
“Out of the devastation and the destruction, a new Ragged Island will emerge including stronger building codes, improved zoning, and strategies to mitigate against Climate Change and rising sea levels,” Dr Minnis pledged.