Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he "anticipates revenue to decrease" as a result of Hurricane Dorian, but noted The Bahamas is receiving "a lot of assistance from the international community".
Dr Minnis made the comment at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday, flanked by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
Dr Minnis said: "The Bahamas is comprised of 700 islands and only two of our islands have been affected (by the hurricane), that's Grand Bahama and Abaco.
"Our major economic engine Nassau has not been affected and (is) still open for business. The way we can be assisted by the international community and the world is to continue to come to Nassau."
With The Bahamas being a high-risk country for hurricanes, the prime minister spoke of the importance of improving the country's building codes going forward and making sure structures adhere to best building practices.
"The shanty towns that we have that we know about, you know that those individuals are in danger of being affected by the storm so those are areas that we must aggressively pursue and correct," he said.
"It's essential for individuals to know that they must live in proper accommodations and we will continue to build resilience and improve continuously because the strength of the hurricane was (Category Five) and who knows what's next."
Moving forward, the government's "greatest challenge would be accommodations" for displaced storm victims, Dr Minnis said.
"So, that's what we'll be looking at, temporary accommodations but we must also move to permanent accommodations. It's essential for us, to those individuals that were evacuated here to New Providence, Bahamians are a resilient group of individuals," he noted.
"Abaco especially as they want recommence reconstruction as quickly as possible. In fact they have already started so it's essential for us to mobilise the evacuees back to their island so that they can participate and become a part of that reconstruction effort."
For his part, Mr Guterres said countries like The Bahamas should be able to access financing in the wake of super storms like Dorian.
"In our new era of climate crisis, hurricanes and storms have turbocharged," the UN official said. "They have come with greater intensity and frequency, the direct result of warmer oceans.
"...Concessional financing must be made available to indebted middle-income countries that are vulnerable to extreme weather events and this is something which we have been working hard to make the international community fully support."
He also said: "...It is absolutely essential to create an international consensus that concessional financing needs to be put at the disposal of countries for the reconstruction and for the capacity to do that reconstruction, increasing the resilience of the societies, and of the communities and of the countries to future disasters that inevitably will come."