The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis Prime Minister
Launch of Hurricane Dorian Small Home Repair Programme
Harold DeGregory Building
Freeport, Grand Bahama
Monday 10 February, 2020 3:00 P. M.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Five months ago Hurricane Dorian brought historic destruction to the Northern Bahamas.
The Category 5 storm was the strongest to hit our chain of islands.
The ferocious winds and high surge destroyed homes and businesses. Lives were lost.
In the few days Dorian stayed over the north, it blew down and washed away generations’ worth of work and development.
In the aftermath of the storm Bahamians from around the country and around the world rallied to assist the residents of Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Cays.
Their efforts along with those of other countries, churches, NGOs, businesses and the Government helped lessen the burden of those who lost so much.
This spirit of resilience is central to the Bahamian character. When Bahamians are in need we rally to help reach our brothers and sisters.
My Government continues to work hard at full restoration of all utilities in the disaster zones.
We also continue to work hard at the immense task of debris removal.
Dorian caused the accumulation of record amounts of debris in the Northern Bahamas.
In my upcoming National Address tomorrow I will go into more detail about our rebuilding and restoration efforts.
During his opening of the Mid-Year Budget Report on Wednesday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance will give a financial report to the House of Assembly.
Key to these efforts is the programme we launch today.
As a Government, we understand that many Bahamians in the disaster zones have had great financial pressures placed on them.
It has been difficult for many to find the funds necessary to make repairs to their homes.
In an effort to assist, my Government is launching the Small Home Repair Programme.
There will be four categories for which purchase orders will be granted.
- Residents whose homes were assessed with minimal damage will be eligible for $2,500 in purchase orders;
- those with medium damage will be eligible for $5,000 in purchase orders;
- those with major damage will be eligible for $7,500 in purchase orders;
- and those whose homes were destroyed will be eligible for $10,000 in purchase orders.
Purchase order recipients will be able to use them for home improvement materials, labour or a combination of both.
There is online registration for the programme at www.drabahamas.org.
There will also be in-person, signup locations for those unable to register online here in Grand Bahama, at the Office of the Prime Minister; in Abaco, at the Government complex; and in New Providence, at NEMA at Gladstone Road.
The Grand Bahama office opens today. The Abaco office opens on February 17 . The New Providence office opens on February 24 .
We encourage you to register online.
This would prevent you from having to wait on a line.
We have also put in place the in-person registration process for those unable to register online for whatever reason.
To qualify, a person needs to be Bahamian; to own the property in question; there must be proof of residence at August 31, 2019; the property would need to have been uninsured; and the property has to be in Grand Bahama, Abaco, or the Cays.
Under the programme, tradesmen used for repairs will need to be approved.
Materials purchased with purchase orders will have to be from approved vendors in The Bahamas.
This is important. We want to keep the money spent on this programme in the country. That will help Bahamian businesses.
We also want to make sure the money spent is used for home repair. The Disaster Reconstruction Authority will disburse 50 percent of thepurchase orders first to qualifying applicants.
An inspector will then check and ensure the purchase order was spent on the home.
Once that is confirmed the remaining 50 percent will be disbursed.
The Authority has also partnered with various NGOs in communities affected by Dorian.
Through the partnerships the Government pays for home repair labour, and the NGOs provide supplies and various types of logistical and technical assistance.
Those initiatives will continue in conjunction with this new Small Home Repair Programme.
We thank the NGOs that are assisting for their generosity and kindness to Bahamians in need.
Dorian was the second strongest hurricane by wind speed recorded in the Atlantic. Its power was immense. Its destruction was widespread.
It will take years for us to fully recover.
My Government pledges its full support along each step of the way to restoration.
We came to Government to help people.
This Small Home Repair Programme is directed at helping Bahamian people get their homes back to normalcy.
We are a resilient people.
Together we will build back better and stronger.
Let me close by noting that tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m., during my National Address, I will make a major announcement for Grand Bahama.
Thank you for coming out today. May God bless Grand Bahama and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Good afternoon.