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Minnis calls for extension of hurricane aid order

Dr Hubert Minnis

Dr Hubert Minnis

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday urged the government to extend the exigency order originally granted to residents of the southern Bahamas adversely affected by Hurricane Joaquin last year.

Dr Minnis even insisted that tax collection be halted in those islands until 2018 to ensure that life in those areas returns to normal as soon as possible.

“I have spoken with many of those residents and what they are telling me is that (more than) six months later and it is still tough for them.

“How do we now all of sudden expect them to make a full recovery within a 90-day period? Six-months have gone by and these residents are still struggling to get back up. These are Bahamians, our people, they are working to put their lives together but they need all the help they can get,” he said.

“If we extend the exigency and halt tax collections we would not only keep more money in the hands of residents in those islands, but we will enable them to get the materials and appliances they need at the most cost effective level. Breaks on everyday items would allow residents to put every extra penny into fixing their lives.”

His comments on Sunday were not the first time he has spoken out in support of an extended exigency order.

Back in October, days after the storm laid waste to about 12 settlements in the southern Bahamas, it was Dr Minnis who called for an initial extension.

At that time, Dr Minnis said the 90-day timeframe might not be long enough for persons to rebuild their lives, after losing practically everything during the category four hurricane.

Additionally, he recommended that the government consider sending therapists to hurricane affected islands to prevent a “medical meltdown.”

Acklins, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Exuma, Inagua, Long Cay, Long Island, Mayaguana, Rum Cay, Ragged Island, Samana Cay and San Salvador were all affected by the massive storm.

In February, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) sent a letter to Prime Minister Perry Christie calling for Hurricane Joaquin related tax breaks to storm-devastated businesses.

The BCCEC suggested that a relief model would have acted as an “economic stimulus” throughout the Bahamas.

Yesterday the Killarney MP also criticised the Christie administration for its handling of a number of pressing issues, suggesting that the ignorance shown could lead to “major problems” for the country.

He raised concern with the “calibre of young officers being recruited” by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).

Dr Minnis claimed that two of the RBPF’s latest recruits had to be rejected from the force’s recruitment process due to alleged criminal pasts.

He claimed that one recruit, at the time of his acceptance to the programme, was being monitored by police for a serious offence.

He also said he was told that a third officer was excused from the programme for a medical issue.

Dr Minnis also questioned if the police force has weakened its vetting process.

“Drug testing is down, proper background checks seemingly thrown out the window. The Bahamas cannot move forward like this.

“ . . . If the vetting process within the police force isn’t where it is supposed to be, we as citizens will find ourselves in a dire situation. We have to fix this now before it gets effectively worse,” he added.

Comments

sheeprunner12 8 years, 2 months ago

Hurricane season is here again ........... it is like Perry's Carnival ......... no transparent accounting or reporting from the previous year to date

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