Dorian pledges - just $109k in cash


KATHERINE Forbes-Smith


Tribune Chief Reporter


SEVEN months after the Hurricane Dorian Pledging Conference was held, a government official said of the $1.77bn in pledges received at January’s event only $109,000 were actual cash donations.

However Disaster Reconstruction Authority Managing Director Katherine Smith called the conference a “success” because it was able to highlight the needs of the country and enable the DRA to engage with new donors in the months that have passed.

“I think people have this big misconception that there is something sinister going on with these grants,” Mrs Smith said in a recent interview. “Forty-nine people pledged that day.

“The total value of what was pledged is $1.77bn. Out of that $1.77bn, $109,000 was pledged in cash. So what you saw happening was we had a group that everybody knows, P3, a US based firm who had pledged $1.675bn. That was for equity financing.

“Then you had another maybe $92m in grants and another $34m.

Mrs Smith continued: “But what is key is $109,000 was cash. Of that cash was a $60,000 cash cheque that was written by a local Bahamian who wanted to help with the debris.

“The other $58,000 were cheques that are on the UNDP’s (United Nations Development Programme) account because they were the persons that basically served as sponsors for the event and had booths and that was the income and revenue that was received from those booths. Probably that don’t add up to $109,000 but there may have been one or two other small cash donations that would have taken you up to $109,000.

“So the majority of the money that had been pledged was either equity financing, people had some grants and that’s really the long and the short of it.”

The conference drew some controversy due to the pledge from the P3 Group, which made up the lion’s share of commitments that day.

However, there remains no decision on whether the government will tap into this option.

“We have spoken to them about what it is that they are interested in; what their plans are and how their whole programme works, but the country has not taken up and confirmed participation in any of those kinds of financing models at this time,” Mrs Smith said.

“Until we get to the point where we actually have projects that need large funding, to date we haven’t really talked to any of these persons who are offering this equity financing of any nature because we really cannot do that alone as an authority. That has to be done obviously with the Ministry of Finance as well.

“The authority can’t put the government in debt. The Ministry of Finance are the drivers behind any kind of borrowing.”

There were also a number of pledges from countries around the world.

The Ministry Foreign Affairs is spearheading talks with nations to receive these.

“… Of that 49 grouping there were some government pledges that had been pledged.

“. . .There is an active discussion going on with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with those countries about the pledges that they had pledged. I think the Indian government may not have pledged that day but had pledged a million. You had the US government that had pledged about $2m for something infrastructure to do with security or something.

“So all I’m saying is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is dealing with the country pledges and trying to make sure that those pledges are actually coming in and these things haven’t really been confirmed yet.

“That’s an active conversation going on with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and those countries that made pledges.”

She also said some pledgers are not available and can’t be reached.

Despite this, Mrs Smith said she believed the conference was successful.

“I think the pledge conference was a success in terms of putting out the whole issue of the needs of the country and what the rebuilding efforts would look like.

“I think it was a success from that point of view. Also it was a success from the point of view that you do have people who actually pledged who are still considering how they can participate and then as a result of it there were a number of people who we consider new donors to the table now as a result of all of that.”

The day following the event, officials said donors pledged $1.5bn in funding and in-kind services for Hurricane Dorian recovery. The event attracted more than 300 local and international delegates.

Pledges included initiatives for homebuilding and repair, educational assistance, renewable energy partnerships, relief aid, grants, direct assistance to storm victims, parks restoration and loans and financing, according to the Office of the Prime Minister.


Baha10 3 years, 1 month ago

This is beyond embarrassing ... basically when the World was “flush with cash” and wanted to assist, we “as usual” we were far to casual, if not asleep at the outright wheel ... now a year later we want to start thinking about following-up in the middle of a World Pandemic ... Good Luck with that ... Hopefully at least all those associated with this newly created Ministry will at least contribute their Salaries for their complete and utter failure given that they have not even collected enough to cover such Salaries, which means the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama would have been better off with simply being handed such Salaries by way of direct relief.


Hoda 3 years, 1 month ago

....But its the ministry of foreign affairs job. Further, the truth that we seem to dismiss is when you read these press releases of govts, persons donating money, they in fact said im giving the bahamas money to do help ngos, clean beaches, mangroves. It is very often that specific - unfortunately not to rebuild everyone house where it was to get destroyed again. You could google hurricane dorian donations and see for yourself. A devasting natural disaster happened, why wouldnt the govt want to do everything it cant to help. But are we suppose to just burden the country with unending debt.


mandela 3 years, 1 month ago

Talk is cheap and so is the supposedly pledges made by the donors or money lenders, money buys land, before announcing to the Bahamian public what these donors and money lenders spew out of their mouths and getting our hopes rising, the competent authorities should have them verified and authenticated.


Clamshell 3 years, 1 month ago

This is “so Bahamian” — a salaried government bureaucrat stares at a complete, total, unmitigated failure and declares, with a straight face, speaking in gobbledygook, that it’s actually “a success.”

I swear — nowhere else on the planet ...


tribanon 3 years, 1 month ago

To say in the aftermath of Dorian donors pledged only $109,000 in cash is ridiculous and can mean only one of two things:

1) Many donors failed to make good on their pledges because they sensed that the Minnis led government's unplanned and most chaotic response to the devastation created great potential for much fraud and corruption by incompetent and over-controlling officials, appointed by Minnis himself, involving cash donations and other donations in-kind; and/or

2) A great deal of the cash donations and other donations in-kind was misappropriated right under the noses of (or possibly with the assistance of) corrupt government officials whose appointments were approved by Minnis.

The Tribune should indentify from a review of its archives all of the more significant donor-pledged contributions reported in the first several months immediately following Dorian. A list of the donors who have yet to make good on their past-due pledges should then be published by The Tribune for all to see.

And lastly, but certainly not least, Katherine Forbes-Smith should be taken to the woodshed. She's absolutely useless!


Hoda 3 years, 1 month ago

The article is about the undp pledge conference. Its very distasteful and likely criminal your shed comment. Hopefuly, by the end of year you work.out your homoerotic obession with Minnis and womanly tendencies.


DWW 3 years, 1 month ago

i'm curious how much the spashly event cost to put on? like it looks like it probably broke even. pay the hotel $100k to host an event and then collect $100k in donations. hey its a wash, we all had fun and we got some free drinks.


TalRussell 3 years, 1 month ago

I thought it's been said that video evidence is strong evidence?
If a business operator, or a member from the PopoulacesOrdinary at large POAL, would've attempted to pull off such Fakeness as the Hurricane Dorian Pledging Conference is proving been which is paralleled right up there alongside the Fake, OBAN signatory pulled off right insight the cameras out the OPM, the CID would've hauled their asses into the Central Station for some serious interrogation.
Just couldn't make such bold Fakeness stuff up. Just couldn't. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?


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