Leader of the Opposition Philip 'Brave' Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis has questioned whether the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s change in leadership will impact ongoing recovery efforts on storm-ravaged islands.
Not only has the change added a layer of uncertainty to the situation, but Mr Davis said government’s lack of a substantive plan shows they continue to “shoot from the hips” as it relates to Abaco and Grand Bahama in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Raymond King was recently appointed deputy commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and is now acting as the commander of the organisation as Commodore Tellis Bethel went on three months vacation leave last week.
Many observers have posed the same question as Mr Davis, noting the swap in leadership came too soon after Hurricane Dorian wrecked Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“I am trying to understand the connection of his being sent on leave and the impact it will have on the continuing efforts that are ongoing,” Mr Davis told The Tribune yesterday.
“The issue of leadership has been bedevilling throughout this whole restoration and relief effort and they need to have some coherency as to what’s going to be happening. What is the plan and the relationship between the various agencies that will bring relief?
“So it does beg the question whether his departure would impact this very fundamental and important initiative that requires urgent leadership attention.”
He continued: “You would not expect at this time that you would be engaging in the stripping of leadership of persons who may have the competence and capability to bring the kind of assistance you need to bring normalcy back to communities and to lives of people affected by the hurricane.
“We would quite naturally ask how is this going to impact the exigencies of the defence force and will it suffer in any way by these actions of the commodore.”
The Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said the change in RBDF leadership further attested to the government’s reactionary actions post Hurricane Dorian.
“You hear them talk about tent cities and rebuilding homes,” Mr Davis said.
“Have they met with the displaced residents to find out what it is that they may want on the land that they have and where are they building the tent city?
“Those persons displaced, will they want to live there or do they want to go back to their homes? I know a number of displaced persons from Abaco who still have their property even though the homes on the property have been damaged.
“Have they done an assessment to determine whether a person like that would want to repair and restore or move before you then say ‘I built this tent city for you go and live there?’
“And what are the arrangements for acquisition or occupation for the residents? There is no coherent plan and how do we determine people will buy into the plan?”
He continued: “Today it’s one thing, tomorrow it’s the next and people have no trust of the government. They can’t because there is no plan and no vision and it seems they are attempting to wish this away and allow international partners and Bahamians to do what they want without proper leadership.
“And again it just exposes that everything seems to be reactionary and that they are continuing to shoot from the hips and being led by knee jerk reactions.”