A model of the Family Relief Centre’s dome structure that will include plumbing, drainage, a sewer system, and electricity. Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE GOVERNMENT is considering charging dome city tenants a “nominal” fee for rent after the expiration of a free period, revealed John-Michael Clarke, chairman of the government’s Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Committee yesterday.
However, officials have not yet decided on the fee or how long the free period will last. The first shipment of domes will arrive in Abaco on November 14, Mr Clarke said.
“The idea behind the domes, and we’re giving consideration to this, is there will be a free period,” Mr Clarke said as a guest on Guardian Radio talk show The Revolution with host Juan McCartney.
“That free period has not been set in stone and after the free period there will be a nominal charge for being in the domes. In any event, the life span for the dome city is 24 months. After 24 months, those domes are going to start to come down.”
He said people who want to live in these domes should register with the Ministry of Social Services, which is handling allocation.
The Minnis administration is also considering how it can assist homeowners who lost homes when Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama.
However, homeowners are only able to access up to $10,000 in assistance.
He said: “The government’s position is that the government is not rebuilding homes. So if your home was totally destroyed at present the position is the government is not providing a full house.
“So if your $100,000 or $250,000 house is totally destroyed the government is not replacing that house.
“In areas like Sweeting’s Cay and those remote settlements, of course you know that position is going to be met with some difficulty because what that means now is the level of assistance you can access is limited to $10,000.
“So between what it costs to get you a residence and the level of assistance you qualify for, we are going to have to come up with a solution to remedy that gap.
“Now the government is investigating, knowing that that gap exists. We’ve had discussions. We started discussions about how we could remedy that gap.
“We are thinking about what alternatives can be possible whether or not we tie the level of assistance the government is providing to match that with non-governmental organisation assistance,” he also said. “Whether the government has resources or can find resources.”
He noted that no entity is funding the Bahamas but only offering financing at a time when the government is financially stretched.
Last week Iram Lewis, minister of state for disaster preparedness, management and reconstruction, said the majority of the 250 domes were to be in Abaco on Friday, October 25.
He said there was still no definitive date for the completion of the $6.4m temporary dome city, but the shell of each structure will take roughly four to six hours to construct.
Mr Lewis said at the time that teams have been working around the clock to ensure the drainage system is in place to handle waste that will be generated once the city is complete.