Categorized | National News

$100 Million for Abaco Water and Light Restoration- Shantytown Cleanup Contracts Signed

Minister of Works Desmond Bannister estimated that it will cost more than $110 million for the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) and Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) to restore services throughout Abaco. 

Bannister made the announcement at the contract signing for Abaco shantytown cleanup on Friday. He added that Cabinet has made provision funding for Water and Sewerage in financing in preliminary stages.

“Right now, Water and Sewerage is going to be, preliminarily anywhere in Abaco from $15 million to $20 million and BPL in Abaco, anywhere from $80 million to $90 million,” Bannister explained.

“They still don’t know everything. So, you’re having immense infrastructural challenges that the professionals understand that when they get in there, they may see things that they could not see until other things were done.”

The cleanup will be done by local construction companies. Caribbean Pavement Solutions will be working to clean up The Mudd, while Bill Summons Construction and Heavy Equipment will focus on Pigeon Peas. Treasure Cay’s shantytown will be cleaned by Big Cat Equipment and the Sand Banks will be looked after by J and J Pavers.

Bannister was unable to calculate the cost of the contracts as companies are working on a rate basis. 

Bannister commented on the companies being highly experienced, professional and having the equipment needed to do the cleanups. He stressed that the team will be sensitive while clearing as there may be remains found in the process.

“They are going to be working in conjunction with the police and the Ministry of the Environment. They’re going to work closely with them because in an exercise like this, which is unprecedented, you don’t know what you’ll find at any given place,” Bannister said. 

“All precautions will be taken so that once these areas are cleared nobody will be able to get back in there. These areas are going to be fenced and all precautions are going to be taken in relation to public safety issues.

“When these shantytowns are cleared, nobody moving back in them.”

The minister’s focus is to build a stronger building code.

“Most of these Family Island communities weren’t built for resilience. They’re built close to the water for access to the water,” Bannister said.   

“Don’t try to rush and rebuild unless you are fully inspected and you meet the current code because there are people now trying to rush and rebuild who are not up to code. If they are hit again, they’re going to have the same result. 

“You cannot rush the process. We are still in the process of gathering information. We have to gather information in such a way that we can keep the Bahamian people safe as possible when they rebuild.”    

Written by Jones Bahamas

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