Categorized | National News

PM Defends Disaster Ministry

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis again shot down criticism that the newly minted Ministry for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction is not another layer of government bureaucracy.

The prime minister’s response came after Opposition Leader Philip Davis said the new ministry is another layer of bureaucracy that will fuel more delays and deepen the level of dissatisfaction, anger and frustration among people.

Dr. Minnis yesterday sought to make it clear that this new ministry will accelerate the process of disaster preparedness. 

“The authority is so that professional individuals who would know how to manage, make decisions and the best decisions that is applicable for what’s happening today,” the prime minister said.  

“They would be able to contract and make those decisions very quickly as suppose to the government bureaucracy and red tape.” 

Additionally, the prime minister said NEMA is being restructured to be better than before, but noted that the agency will play the same role.

“We’ve learned a lot from this disaster.  We’ve learned a lot from the international agencies that were here,” Dr. Minnis said. 

“They were very impressed with our organization, but still we will take it to another level because the storms we saw yesterday will not be the storms we see tomorrow.”  

To the criticism that the government did not respond fast enough post Hurricane Dorian, Dr. Minnis said supplies and helicopters from the United States was in Andros and Exuma awaiting the all clear to move in. 

“We were delayed in getting into Abaco because the storm unfortunately sat over Grand Bahama and the feeder bans were still over Abaco,” Dr. Minnis said.  

“As soon as the feeder bans moved, the choppers from both Andros and Exuma were able to be dispatched immediately. So you couldn’t do it any faster than that.” 

The prime minister stressed that the task of rebuilding those islands badly damaged by Hurricane Dorian will take time.

 He added that the government will report regularly on its progression. 

During his press conference on Sunday, the prime minister said in restructuring NEMA the government will work with disaster preparedness, recovery and management experts from around the world, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States.   

“Let me be clear, it cannot be business as usual in government,” Dr. Minnis said. 

“We have to break down the silos.  There is no time for territorial or turf battles.  Egos must be put aside in the interest of the common good.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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