Press Release – Discussions focus on post-Hurricane Dorian recovery and bilateral relations
During a courtesy call at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday, Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas H.E. Huang Qinguo and Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis discussed how the People’s Republic of China may further assist in recovery and reconstruction efforts on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
The Prime Minister invited China to partner with The Bahamas by participating in the upcoming United Nations Development Programme Donor Pledge Conference to aid the Government’s reconstruction program post-Hurricane Dorian. The conference is scheduled for 13 January at Baha Mar.
The pledging conference will leverage resources of domestic and international groups who want to partner with the Bahamian people and the Government to rebuild affected areas stronger, and with more resilience, especially in light of the global climate emergency.
The Conference is a part of a broader program and strategy for reconstruction led by the Government of The Bahamas.
Prime Minister Minnis noted that in addition to the reconstruction of hospitals and schools, housing remained a key priority for the Government.
“If affected residents don’t have homes to return to, there will be little use for hospitals and schools,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Minnis also reiterated the Government’s position that all projects in The Bahamas carried out by international contractors are required to have an 80:20 Bahamian to foreign employment ratio.
As a part of its reconstruction strategy, the Government will launch a new housing project that will provide free Crown land complete with infrastructure to affected residents. It is hoped that funds raised at the Conference will help to fund the cost of the infrastructure.
Prime Minister Minnis said the Government also has plans to use some of the funds raised at the conference to provide sustainable energy to individual homes in areas affected by Hurricane Dorian.
“We are being directly impacted by Climate Change. Our response must include rebuilding smarter and with resilience,” said the Prime Minister.
The Government has already prepared specific reconstruction delivery plans, which have been cross-referenced with the damage and loss assessment conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC). Total damage, loss and additional costs in four primary categories on the affected islands is estimated at approximately $3.4 billion.
The six sectors identified by the Government include housing, the environment and debris clean up, education, health, infrastructure and the economy.
Prime Minister Minnis thanked the Ambassador for China’s assistance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, and for its continued long-standing partnership in areas of education, trade and infrastructural development.