Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister has admitted that construction needs to begin in Ragged Island.
However, the delay he said was because there had been challenges with design submissions.
This more than two years after Hurricane Irma devastated the small island in September 2017.
“It is quite appropriate for the member for Exuma (and Ragged Island Chester Cooper) to raise the issue of Ragged Island,” the Carmichael MP said Thursday during debate on the Disaster Preparedness and Response Amendment Bill 2019.
“Quite frankly, Ragged Island needs the reconstruction to start, and it will. The challenges have come from the submissions of designs, redesigns and re-redesigns.”
Before these remarks, he said the country had reached a point where national unity was required, adding it was regrettable that the opposition had made Hurricane Dorian a political issue.
“History will judge them harshly for that,” Mr Bannister told the House.
Earlier this week, Mr Cooper criticised the government for the lack of progress in one of his constituencies.
According to Mr Cooper, the Minnis administration has shown “blatant reckless neglect” in Ragged Island.
Their failure to act had led to mistrust of government from residents.
For this reason Mr Cooper said he was worried and left with heavy heart over the fate of Abaco and Grand Bahama residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Government essential services, a school, clinic or police station, among other things, are still absent there.
Given the continuous grim outlook on Ragged Island, its MP yesterday urged the government to extend to his constituency the same tax concessions that have been given to both Grand Bahama and Abaco, allowing residents to further rebuild.
At the same time, he urged the government to table a comprehensive report of the donations given for Ragged Island, noting "people are asking where the hurricane money gone."