With more rain on the way and warnings of potential flooding in low lying areas Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney called on the government to stop being so reactive and ensure that flood prone areas have proper drainage.
Last Tuesday, parts of New Providence experienced some of the worst flooding it has had in recent years.
The Camperdown area, for example, experienced more than 15 inches of rainfall.
Many homes, vehicles and businesses were also severely damaged.
The DNA leader noted that politics “raised its ugly head” following the storm with many politicians questioning what Prime Minister Perry Christie and his government were going to do to assist affected Bahamians.
“In my view, these cries came much too late. There is a saying that prevention is better than cure. This aptly applies to this situation,” he said.
Mr. McCartney also said the Department of Town Planning must do the necessary inspections on developments to determine that the land is not low lying prior to giving the necessary approvals.
“Unfortunately, this was not done in certain areas and as a result many Bahamians are suffering every time it rains. In connection with those persons recently affected, the DNA supports an incentive tariff programme for the importation of building materials and supplies to assist in the rebuilding after the flood. This is to encapsulate not only homes but also businesses that are affected. I have no doubt that social services will do its part in assisting in this unfortunate circumstance.”
Mr. McCartney said while he does not know the monetary value of the flood damage he estimates it is in the millions.
“There seems to be many areas in New Providence that would flood on a sunny day such as Pinewood Gardens. The reason for this is that the areas where most of those homes were built are low lying and quite frankly there is not much that can be done in those circumstances,” he said.
“This has been going on for many years and notwithstanding how many walkabouts the government and the official opposition do that will not change those circumstances.”
Mr. McCartney said there are other areas, however, where flooding can be reduced if there had been proper cleaning and maintenance of the drains in those areas.
“It is unfortunate that the cry for the cleaning and maintenance of the drains are heard after the fact. My point is that preventative measures must be taken and proper management of drains must be had on a continuous basis. Quite typically, we as Bahamians are reactive as opposed to being proactive,” he said.
“Then there is the talk about insurance companies not acknowledging that the insurance policies cover the flood because it was not raining for a certain number of days. I cannot confirm that this is indeed the case, but if it is, something must be done with those insurance companies. Put simply, that would not be a fair and equitable position for the insurance companies to take. I do hope and anticipate that the insurance companies will do what is right in the circumstances and assist those who are now in distress and put aside the fine print.”
With the hurricane season fast approaching the DNA leader said all necessary public service announcements regarding hurricane preparedness should be issued.
He encouraged the government to use social media to its advantage.
He said the Christie administration should also establish strategic staging areas in the Family Islands that would bolster the government’s capability to respond to disasters throughout the archipelago.
“The DNA further encourages the government to implement an advanced communication system to ensure constant communication with strategic staging areas in the aftermath of disasters. There must be development of policy and procedures that will address future unforeseen emergencies resulting from, among other disasters, climate change, terrorism, earthquake or tsunamis. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.
“As Bahamians, we must always do our individual part to help those who are in need. I would encourage all of those persons who were not affected to do their part in bringing some relief to our brothers and sisters.”