By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS
NEARLY five years after Hurricane Irma ravaged Ragged Island, residents have mixed emotions about the infrastructure development so far on the island.
Irma destroyed the island in September 2017 and since then the island has struggled to return to normal.
Government essential services, such as a school, clinic, or police station, among other things, remain absent.
During a visit to the island on Friday, The Tribune canvassed various residents to get their view on the progress made thus far.
Ricardo Curling, who was born and raised in Ragged Island, said the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has made little to no progress by comparison to the last administration.
“The PLP has done nothing for this land,” he told The Tribune. “The PLP has done absolutely nothing for this land. They are riding off of FNM things.”
Another resident, Amal Smith, said he is happy with what has been done, however, he believes more can be done.
“I am happy with what they have done,” he said, “but I believe that more can be done as we still need a police station, administrative building, along with the post.
“As far as I am concerned, they are doing the best they can right now.”
When asked by The Tribune what words of advice would he offer the government he said: “My thing is they could come over here and see, it would show them that we really need the help and more can be done.”
Sharing a similar view, Latoya Curling said she is satisfied with the repairs, but agreed more could be done.
“I thought by this year the school would have been finished because we have young kids that need to be in school,” she said. “Definitely we need this clinic to hurry up and finish, we have no nurse. It’s going to be six years without a nurse.”
According to residents on the island, Friday was the first time Prime Minister Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis and the MP for the island, Chester Cooper have visited for the year.
Despite the claims of the residents, in his speech during Bahamas Power and Light’s solar micro grid ceremony last week Friday, Mr Cooper said the government is committed to continue rebuilding the island.
Mr Cooper told reporters in Ragged Island that repairs for the school are “almost” completed, however, the school will not be in operation for September.
He said: “Well the school is almost completed. We were hoping that they would be ready for school this September. We might need to look at a makeshift solution working with the ministry of works and the ministry of education to cause it to happen.”
He said that the school’s opening was a matter of “putting on the finishing touches”.
Before the hurricane, the population of the island was 100, however it has currently declined to approximately 60 to 65 persons, according to the minister of Exuma and Ragged Island.
“I would say it is in the region of 60 to 65 persons at the moment. Just before the hurricane, it was about 100.”
He also clarified that the island would have a nurse on the island as of “mid-September”.
“You will have a nurse here by mid-September,” he said. “We have identified your nurse and we only need to get her here and she will be here during the month of September.”
sheeprunner12 9 months, 3 weeks ago
FNM started the work. Chester was always finding fault. So, Chester needs to step up and fix it. No excuses.
birdiestrachan 9 months, 3 weeks ago
The FNM could have completed the work there is no excuse 2017 was a long time ago
birdiestrachan 9 months, 3 weeks ago
Mr curling the FNM had more time there is no comprising
ThisIsOurs 9 months, 3 weeks ago
This is a tough one. The recommendation was that the Island had suffered such severe damage that it not be repopulated. But no doubt, if those 60 persons had not claimed their birthright, some realtor would be now be saying how wonderfully things were going and would be adding multimillion dollar revenue from their sale of Ragged Island to a foreign entity.
At some point the govt made a policy decision to reinvest in Ragged Island. So this is bad:
"According to residents on the island, Friday was the first time ... the MP for the island, Chester Cooper have visited for the year."... its August. Unlike other constituencies, I think these people do need to see their representative.... unless, so many things are happening that they have no doubt they havent been forgotten.
ScubaSteve 9 months, 2 weeks ago
5 years? 5 freakin years?!??!!?? And still no school, post office, police station, health clinic, etc? Absolutely ridiculous and appalling. Yes, if the plan was not to repopulate and let it go -- that is one thing. But if the plan was to help rebuild, help the remaining citizens, and not to abandon the island -- then there is NO excuse.
sheeprunner12 9 months, 2 weeks ago
True. But there's 60 ppl there. That solar plant alone is more than most other islands will get (in relative value) from the Govt. Can you imagine the cost of all of the other things?
I suggest that they build one U shaped complex and give each service a room.
Flyingfish 9 months, 2 weeks ago
On Family Islands the government needs to change its strategy. It needs to centralize development or else its going to spread resources to thin. Like what Sheep runner said above they need to build a common building.
But they also need to give the family islands the ability to go after development options other then selling land to foreigner's for luxury accommodations and resorts.
How about a boutique salt company, it can even be nationalized. Unfortunately government is so short sighted.
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