Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has expressed disappointment and surprise in his predecessors, Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie, over comments they made suggesting he has ignored their capacity to help the country recover from Hurricane Dorian.
In an extraordinary statement released Thursday evening by the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Minnis called their comments misleading and referred to them as an “unnecessary distraction.”
“We as a country do not have the time for divisiveness, partisan politics or jockeying for position,” he said.
After touring Abaco on Wednesday, the former leaders expressed skepticism about whether Dr Minnis will have them take an active role in the recovery process.
Mr Ingraham said though he spoke to Dr Minnis after Dorian's passage, he did not think the prime minister would give him a role in recovery efforts.
Dr Minnis has said in response: “After the passage of Hurricane Dorian, Mr Ingraham reached out to me. An offer of a major assignment was made. He declined the offer. He also declined to meet with me at the Office of the Prime Minister.”
Dr Minnis also responded to Mr Ingraham’s view that people in the Mudd and Pigeon Peas were not appropriately warned about Dorian’s approach.
“The other thing I wish to mention is the claim that government officials did not visit shantytowns with Creole speakers to warn residents to evacuate," he said. "Mr Ingraham is mistaken on that issue as well. Media reports attest to this fact.”
He continued: "In the spirit of bipartisanship, the Cabinet of the Bahamas recommended that Mr Christie should also be asked to serve. An approach was also made to Mr Christie. It is clear that there was and still a misunderstanding but patriotism requires us to put this aside and move forward.”
Dr Minnis said in responding to the largest natural disaster in the country’s history, his government is focused on helping to restore people’s lives.
“I am heartened and deeply grateful by the extraordinary number of Bahamians and foreigners who volunteered to help and are helping the government and charities in response to Hurricane Dorian," he said. "I thank all who are contributing their time, resources and talents. As I have said in my address, this is a time for the greatest act of volunteerism in Bahamian history. We welcome all Bahamians of goodwill and generosity of spit to make their contributions to helping those in need."
For more on this story, see Friday's Tribune.