0

Repair Scheme Needs $13m

Iram Lewis. Photo: Lisa Davis/BIS

Iram Lewis. Photo: Lisa Davis/BIS

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

MINISTER of Disaster Preparedness Iram Lewis said yesterday officials are hopeful that the Small Home Repair Programme will resume before early next year.

He also pleaded with registrants to be patient until the agency secures the funding needed to complete the relief initiative.

Speaking ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the minister told reporters that as it stands, the Disaster Reconstruction Authority needs to acquire more than $13m to fulfil its current obligations to those who were approved for repair help.

Noting that officials are actively working towards the goal, Mr Lewis said once the DRA gets the approval it needs from Cabinet, an announcement will be made about the way forward.

“To fund the overall programme, we are in the neighbourhood of $13m,” he said. “So, that’s a major shortfall with respect to the reconstruction and even though we are undergoing serious financial challenges right now, we will see how we can do our best to secure that level of funding which is a lot considering the times that we are in.

“It is slightly over $13 million that we need to finish the programme and that is by no stretch of imagination a small number as I said earlier based on the financial challenges that we are faced with right now but we are seeking to get an approval and once we get an approval, we will make an announcement and we hope that the approval will be granted and once it’s done, we’ll resume the programme.”

His comments come amid heightened public scrutiny of the programme – which is currently suspended—after concerns were raised by suppliers in September about not receiving payments from the agency since the initiative was launched in February.

Many approved applicants have also expressed frustration, questioning when the programme will continue, allowing them to receive much needed home supplies.

Yesterday, Mr Lewis acknowledged both the concerns, but also called for more patience as he reiterated the agency’s commitment towards completing the programme.

He said: “We know that there are persons who are anxiously waiting for the programme to continue and we will be making an announcement in short order. We have a paper to present to Cabinet to get all of the necessary financing to move the project forward. I just want to assure all of those persons who we made a commitment to that we will honour our commitments.

“Persons who would’ve registered, those persons who we would’ve assessed, persons who would’ve started the registration, who we would’ve reached out to, I know it’s been a long time coming but the intention is to honour all of our commitments and the overall number is in the neighbourhood of 4,200 persons and, of course, the system ranges from 2,500 to 10,000 so again, we are focusing on rebuilding and I know persons are incredibly impatient. They have been waiting for a long time, the vendors have been waiting and again, as a government we will honour our commitment.”

Asked yesterday whether the public can expect to see the resumption of the programme by early next year, Mr Lewis said officials are hopeful the greenlight will be given before then.

He said: “We are hopeful that it will start before (next year) but of course you know we are financially stretched right now and as I indicated earlier, when we had the pledge conference, the number of commitments that came through – a commitment is not a contract and those persons who committed to giving us funding to help with the reconstruction, their priorities shifted as a result of COVID-19.

“But, as a government, our commitment is to take care of our people and so we now have to pivot a bit to seek other avenues on how we can finance those projects moving forward.”

As of October, over 4,000 people were said to have registered for the DRA’s Small Homes Repair programme in Abaco and Grand Bahama, with some $11m spent towards the initiative.

Comments

Seaman 4 months, 1 week ago

This man needs to come to Abaco and see first hand how his staff is operating. Plenty wind blown up peoples behind with very little help for the people that truly need it. People who had no house at all are getting $10.000.
All talk and no action. Here on Green Turtle Cay they have basically been a no show. Where has all the money gone?

1

DDK 4 months, 1 week ago

Another total disgrace on the part of this so-called government. It spent more on setting up the initiative than on actual distribution, it would seem. The government's response, in general, to the Dorian disaster was a drop in the bucket to what it should have been.

0

tribanon 4 months, 1 week ago

Lewis has all along been doling out money like candy to FNM cronies and supporters. How much more money borrowed by government is he going to be given by Minnis to squander?!

0

birdiestrachan 4 months, 1 week ago

When is Kay Forbes in all of this. she resigned from the Senate and doc gave her a big job

The Governor-General rent is 9.000 per month

0

tribanon 4 months, 1 week ago

Peanuts compared to what Vomit Christie, Wicked Witch Maynard-Gibson, Bag Man Bethel and several others among the PLP elite personally pocketed from the Communist Chinese Party in exchange for extraordinarily generous concessions of one kind or another relating to Baha Mar's development and legal proceedings.

0

birdiestrachan 4 months, 1 week ago

If you have proof of these accusations. Then bring them forward.

Remember the accusations against Frank Smith and Gibson. Trumped-up, to say the least.

You all what to try that again?

Talk facts. Kay Forbes Smith salary and the Governor-general monthly rent.

0

tribanon 4 months, 1 week ago

Even one of Vomit's sons made out like a big time bandit with his first time mega million dollar pool construction contract at Baha Mar. And don't get me going on the Wicked Witch's lease and other sweet deals relating to jewellery stores, etc. at Baha Mar. As for the Bag Man, much will be said to remind the public about his nefarious emails and other activities involving reps of the Communist Chinese Party in the run up to the next general election. You just sit tight as you you go about pecking away most ineffectively.

0

birdiestrachan 4 months, 1 week ago

And while you are at it what about Our Lucaya and BTC.

0

tribanon 4 months, 1 week ago

Still very much chomp change compared to the PLP leadership's personal gains from their notorious dealings with representatives of the Communist Chinese Party involving Baha Mar and The Pointe. And then there's the rape, pillage and plundering of BOB and loads more. Start your pecking. lol

0

Sign in to comment