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Tent Cities For Gb And Abaco

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis met with Premier of the Cayman Islands Alden McLaughlin yesterday to discuss Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis met with Premier of the Cayman Islands Alden McLaughlin yesterday to discuss Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

• Memorial site plan for Mudd and Pigeon Peas

• Shanty buildings ‘put lives in danger’

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE government may create a memorial site where The Mudd and Pigeon Peas once stood as the country’s largest shanty town communities - and is also considering tent cities to get people back to Grand Bahama and Abaco, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday.

Cabinet is eying the solution as a way to pay respects to the people who died there during Hurricane Dorian. Meanwhile, Cabinet is ironing out plans to erect large tent cities on hurricane ravaged islands to faciliate the relocation of evacuees back to their communities. 

With debris still widely scattered in the decimated shanty towns, an account of how many bodies lay beneath the rubble remains elusive. A Haitian advocacy group, the United Haitian Community Front, has said more than 300 people from the communities are listed as missing following the storm.

In the days after Hurricane Dorian, some residents spoke openly about wanting to rebuild the shanty towns, prompting the government to issue a prohibition order on Sunday to prevent construction of residential and business structures for six months.

“Buildings on The Mudd and Pigeon Peas were inferiorly built and they were not set up for disaster, flooding and hurricanes and they were not built according to safety codes,” Dr Minnis said yesterday. “Individual’s lives and health were in danger in those facilities.”

Dr Minnis was speaking to reporters following a meeting with Alden McLaughlin, the premier of the Cayman Islands.

“We want to ensure people are properly housed and not exposed to all the elements,” he said. “We’re discussing the matter at Cabinet now and we think it might be appropriate to declare those areas some sort of memorial site in respect for those who would’ve died in those particular areas.”

The urgent need to get storm evacuees back to their islands will spur the temporary creation of tent cities and man camps in Abaco and Grand Bahama, Dr Minnis said.

Cabinet and technocrats are finalising details of the plan but the prime minister suggested moving evacuees back to communities that feature essential services, such as schools, is the main priority of his administration.

“Manpower will be necessary. We must rebuild and they must be a part of that. They were employed there also,” he said.

Man camps would house contractors and their staff working to rebuild and clean up the islands. Tent cities featuring bathroom, recreation and cafeteria amenities will be up and available for what he hopes to be no longer than a year, he added. 

“That can only remain up for a certain period of time because after six months to a year those individuals will become agitated and want to move into a different type of facility and therefore we would take that into consideration knowing that this is just a transitional phase. We’re hoping to have the man camp and the tent city completed very, very quickly so we can mobilise individuals and return them back,” he said. 

Attorney General Carl Bethel said tent cities could feature family-sized tents with internal dividers, communal toilets and shower facilities.

“One tent emplacement will be for single men. The other for families. The intention is to have secured areas, with police law enforcement presence,” he said.

Long-term, he envisions the government constructing basic housing units, “preferably on stilts to give better durability in storm conditions.”

“Such developments will naturally have private sector involvement and the requirement that over time there be some financial contribution towards the cost of the land and the development of new communities,” he said. “But the details of that have yet to be worked out.”

Stressing discussions are preliminary, he said the destruction of The Mudd and Pigeon Peas shows the low-lying areas are unsafe for human habitation in the face of powerful storms.

“There is a need to build further inland and on higher ground,” he said. “I must emphasise that I am not making any statement on the ultimate land use of those affected areas, whether for residential or other purposes. That is the job of the minister of environment. Today the central government must decide how and where to house affected populations in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe. It is entirely impractical to even look at disaster zones at this time so we must look elsewhere in the short to medium-term.”

The Cayman Islands donated medical supplies to the Bahamas government yesterday. Earlier, India’s High Commissioner, M. Sevala Naik, presented a donation of $1m, with his country becoming the latest among governments and celebrities to do so.

It is not clear how much in monetary donations the government has received. Dr Minnis said Cabinet is still discussing how the funds will be used to help people, saying attention must be given to building needs and the psychological welfare of affected residents.

Dr Minnis said no matter how the donations are used, the public will get a proper accounting of the funds distribution.

“We’ve added an accountant to NEMA and additional financing staff so as to monitor what is received,” he said. “We have a private accounting team that will do the necessary auditing to ensure transparency and accountability and they will report directly to the nation on a monthly basis as to the monies that were received and spent so we will have overt accountability because the one thing I don’t want, I don’t want no one calling me no thief.”

After Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew devastated central and southern islands in 2015 and 2016, the Christie administration created a programme to rebuild and repair the homes of elderly, disabled and single parents whose properties suffered substantial damage.

Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, the Minnis administration gave $4,000 per household to those affected in Ragged Island.

Some officials believe the magnitude of destruction from Dorian makes direct monetary donations impractical and officials are discussing various ways to incentivise rebuilding on the island, The Tribune understands.

Comments

TheMadHatter 4 weeks, 1 day ago

"It is not clear how much in monetary donations the government has received. Dr Minnis said Cabinet is still discussing how the funds will be used to help people, saying ...."

It is not clear how much in monetary donations the government has received?

Really?

Seriously?

How convenient. You can't lose what you never knew you had. LOL.

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Godson 4 weeks, 1 day ago

This was suppose to be Fred's moment to reply but notice how the Tribune quickly moved this posting (Six-month building ban in The Mudd and Pigeon Peas) from its front page postings. The Carrons are looking out for their friends, family and lovers.

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joeblow 4 weeks, 1 day ago

"We’ve added an accountant to NEMA and additional financing staff so as to monitor what is received,” he said. “

I never knew the purpose of an accountant was to MONITOR and not to COUNT! It is ridiculous that they cannot give an hourly accounting of funds received if needed. This is why I will support a foreign entity like Samaritans Purse before giving one cent to a government agency!

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Sickened 4 weeks, 1 day ago

It's hard to argue your point. I wish I could though... but I can't.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Dr Minnis said no matter how the donations are used, the public will get a proper accounting of the funds distribution.

THAT JUST AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN IN THE SAME WAY THE MINNIS-LED FNM GOVERNMENT HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO GIVE THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE A PROPER ACCOUNTING OF HOW THEIR VAT, CUSTOMS DUTY AND OTHER TAX DOLLARS HAVE BEEN SPENT.

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marrcus 4 weeks, 1 day ago

What happened to all those Fyre Festival tents? They were designed exactly for this purpose.

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Sickened 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Will Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson be responsible for paying for the memorial? If she let the government do what was right, and clear out these unsafe settlements, then many lives could have been spared. At any memorial ceremony to be had, Mrs. Grant-Thompson should be allowed to speak so that she can clear her conscience. She must feel terrible!!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 weeks, 1 day ago

She and many others will now have to live the rest of their lives with the stain of the contributing role they played in the deaths of so many both during Hurricane Dorian and in the days immediately following its aftermath. There is always a serious price to be paid for not having done the right thing at key points in one's life. Let's just hope Minnis himself has learned this, albeit in the very hardest way possible.

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Godson 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I am tied onto your coat tail with this...

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TalRussell 4 weeks, 1 day ago

The death count took over week rise by single count one from its stood still 50 to an 'official' death count Fifty-One. .
Crown Ministers and government officialism who all up week back were all talking from PMO's script, that the reported figure of 50 is widely expected to climb higher ......What hell happened has officialism now been ordered, not brings up the death count is expected to climb higher ....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Many of the survivors from the Mudd and Pigeon Pea communities in Marsh Harbour are apparently very deliberately exaggerating to authorities the number of missing persons by creating and reporting fictional family members and friends that they claim they are unable to find. It seems many of these survivors have been told by leaders of the newly created United Haitian Community Front (UHCF) and representatives of the government of Haiti in The Bahamas that they will get much more foreign and local aid support if the death toll figures can be made to be much higher through missing person reports. Small wonder our Royal Bahamas Police Force is very carefully going about verifying the identities of both the number of dead and the number of missing. I now understand why this is rightfully taking so much time.

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TalRussell 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Oh dear, ma comrade, sadly, there are visibly public relapse signs of your psychiatric's electric shock treatment sessions, yes, no .... Suggest head doc increases number sessions. whilst doubling administered voltage per shock treatment .... we all know recovery will require extended treatment process but all hereto Tribune bloggers are pulling some signs improvement to your upstairs ....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I wouldn't put it past you Tal to know something about the efforts being made by your Haitian brethren to inflate the reported number of missing persons.

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TalRussell 4 weeks, 1 day ago

In other words ma comrade Mudda, you will let PMO's script writers decide what's going on in Abaco and on Grand Bahamaland , not the reality on ground, yes, no ... What did D.J. Trump say, believe him, not what human eyes see .....

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sealice 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Who wants to flucking guess what the tent cities will become?? Bahamians will get use (just like they did to the shanty towns) and will call em tent somethings instead of the mud and the peas = why do we keep electing such stupid people?

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John 4 weeks, 1 day ago

So will these tents be segregated white Abaconians Bahamians and undocumented immigrants.

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themessenger 4 weeks ago

John you really need to seek help getting over your black/white issues, all them people equally destitute regardless of their nationality or color. Why would I care if the family suffering next to me was white or black? All a we is Gods children!

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ashley14 4 weeks, 1 day ago

My heart breaks for those in need. Many are donating supplies and money, not sure it’s getting where it’s needed. Those making that decision haven’t been given credit for doing the right thing in the past. I hope this isn’t happening.

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TalRussell 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Colony's comrade PM, we’ve (I've) added an accountant (don't worry, it's not the too schooled in funny numbers, the un-arithmetician KP) to NEMA, yes, no .....

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Sickened 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I assume that only documented and legally immigrated people will be allowed to live in these tents? They seriously can't be considering putting up tents from known illegals??

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joeblow 4 weeks ago

... wait until these tent cities become taxpayer funded homes on crown land, with some illegals as beneficiaries! Notice Minnis is making absolutely no effort to sort them out from legal residents, speak with the Haitian ambassador to make arrangements for them or to repatriate them!

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geostorm 4 weeks ago

they better not be @sickened!

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K4C 4 weeks ago

This will be the NORM for some time to come, the FNM and the PLP are not even remotely close to be in charge of any rebuilding plan, this will require outside professional help, billions of capital and no political grandstanding

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sheeprunner12 4 weeks ago

It is so ironic how public memorials and green spaces come about in most communities ........ death and destruction caused by man-made or natural disasters.

Can you imagine the public perception to most Bahamians if the Government goes about setting up one in The Mudd????????

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ashley14 4 weeks ago

These people have nothing left, living in tent cities isn’t acceptable. What happens to them in even a heavy thunderstorm with 20 to 30 mph winds. As a tourist what looks like paradise is deceiving. Obviously life has always been hard or we wouldn’t have so many bitter comments. Not to mention distrust seeded within the people affected by Dorian or not. Very sad!

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sheeprunner12 4 weeks ago

You claim that you are originally Bahamian ....... you seem ignorant of this reality ......... Join the crowd of ignorant people not privy to the Bahamian reality.

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ashley14 4 weeks ago

If your directing this to me sheep runner 12, how do you start out Bahamian? Either you are or not. I’ve never said I was Bahamian. I fell in love with a Bahamian many many years ago. I’ve wished I was a Bahamian before but I’m very American. The way you took what I said is what I’m talking about. I never ever intend to offend others with my comments. Sorry for offending you!

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sheeprunner12 4 weeks ago

Bahamians will not live in a "tent city" with Haitians ........... Haitians will fear Government round ups ........ . The government will not want to create "tent ghettos". This will not work for different social reasons in Abaco

Those people in High Rock, GB ready to build their homes now. They won't need a "tent"

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TalRussell 4 weeks ago

Comrades has wonder, how many rooms prior September 1, 2019, and 16 days post Hurricane Dorian - have sat empty in the government owned and operated Grand Lucayan Hotel, yes, no ....Surprised that there's been no populaces March over to Grand Lucayan Hotel to ask about what be's possibility checking into empty of paying guests at government's $100 million owned and operated hotel ....

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SP 4 weeks ago

Illegal Haitians will not register for tent city dwellings out of fear of deportation. They will relocate shanty towns in Abaco and Freeport, and disappear in Nassau shanty towns, turning back to crime for survival and cause havoc in the capital city the likes that have never been seen!

The FNM and PLP are 100% responsible for this illegal Haitian mess and the coming onslaught crime wave that will shock the nation in the short term.

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TalRussell 4 weeks ago

Ma comrade SP. spending your days facing the real fear deportation - begs asks if you and family lived under the same cloud deportation - would you show up with your family members to register for tent, yes, no ..

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My2centz 4 weeks ago

The last thing they should do is put people who just experienced Dorian in flimsy accommodations. And i'm not convinced they have, or will hire, people with the competencies to turn such major projects around in a such a short time frame or ever. And the tent cities will become the new shanty towns-just a lot worse.

They should make use of abandoned and/or school buildings instead. It would be much easier to implement a temporary "city". People would have sturdy accomodations and be better protected from the elements. Schools can be relocated to the tent city sites, and tents or trailers used for classrooms. At least no one would have to spend night after night under a tarp.

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The_Oracle 4 weeks ago

I can't see Bahamians living in Tents anyway. After Wilma some mobile trailer homes were set up near West End G.B. and people moved in, Didn't end well for a number of reasons. Probably still sitting there derelict (or blown away by subsequent storms) I remember a controversy about sips, tilt wall, prefab and other type building methods, some MP (was an idiot anyway) said Bahamians want nothing but slab, block and tie beam with wood roof. Bottom line is the code is good but again, our national failing, Lack of Enforcement.

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concerned799 4 weeks ago

We need a strategic reserve of mobile trailers that can go from island to island to provide temporary housing while people rebuild.

And a permanent huricane reserve fund sales tax of say 2.5% to provide for disaster funding with funds administered by third parties so they are disaster relief only and not for general revenues with public accounts given annually.

And finally where is the talk of us getting off the fossil fuels that are driving all of these destructive storms to begin with?

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joeblow 4 weeks ago

... you want to trust government with money allocated for a specific purpose?? How did that work with VAT?

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JonathonMoseley 3 weeks, 6 days ago

"We need a strategic reserve of mobile trailers that can go from island to island to provide temporary housing while people rebuild."

Agree. Excellent idea

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JonathonMoseley 3 weeks, 6 days ago

It is not my place to suggest what the Bahamas should do as an independent country, but only to try to share ideas out of deep concern for this tragedy.

There is tremendous amount of land in the Bahamas, including all over Great Abaco. Of course jobs and economic activity are often closely related and people want to group together where there will be jobs.

But for temporary housing, people might remember that there is a tremendous amount of empty land with an aquifer on Great Abaco.

But there is no housing of course. International relief -- a Marshall Plan -- should bring in temporary modular housing (I don't know what they are called).

If the US military wanted to build a base in Iraq for 25,000 soldiers they could build it between a week and a month. They could build a small town with modular, prefabricated housing.

It also seems essential in my view that the Bahamas should re-establish the once-successful citrus groves that were destroyed by a blight.

A great increase of farming, chicken farms, maybe just fenced off areas for free-range chickens, pigs, and maybe even sheep if not too hot should be implemented.

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JonathonMoseley 3 weeks, 6 days ago

I know from some legal work years ago that there is a very large SURPLUS of old cruise ships in the cruise industry, including because of the replacement of ships with much more modern, elaborate new cruise ships.

Using surplus, older cruise ships, the mothball fleet from the U.S. Navy or other countries and the like, most of Marsh Harbour's population could be housed temporarily on ships anchored off shore.

I think 10-12 older cruise ships could hold the entire population of Marsh Harbour, couldn't they?

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