#Freeport, GB, August 29, 2019 – Bahamas – The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Grand Bahama has been activated, as a potentially category three storm rolls towards the Northern Bahamas.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson met with all members of the Grand Bahama Disaster Preparedness Committee, along with representatives from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) on Wednesday afternoon in the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Committee, which consists of representatives from all of the relevant agencies in the country, gave the Minister a report of their readiness as Hurricane Dorian leaves behind a wave of destruction in Puerto Rico and turns its sights on parts of the Northern Bahamas.
“We are in a state of preparedness, getting ready for the effects of what could possibly be a very strong hurricane,” Minister Thompson told members of the media during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon, following the meeting with the Disaster Preparedness Committee.
“This hurricane we must take seriously. We take the attitude that we will pray, but also prepare at the same time. We have met with all of the key stakeholders and we want the public to be in a state of readiness. This storm is not to be taken lightly.
“We want to send the message to the residents of Grand Bahama and to the Northern Bahamas to take special heed to all of the alerts and all of the news relating to the passing of this hurricane. We urge residents to begin preparing their houses and their businesses to ensure that they are secured.”
As to the latest updates, on Wednesday afternoon Hurricane Dorian was passing Puerto Rico and is expected to skirt the Southern Bahamas, as it moved northwest. A turn to the west is expected to take place on Saturday, which will take it right over Abaco and Grand Bahama. During that time, it is expected to be a category 3 hurricane.
“All indications are that the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama, the Berry Islands and even Bimini will experience strong gale force and hurricane force winds by Sunday morning,” said Shavon Moxey-Bonimy, Chief Meteorologist at the Freeport Weather Office. “Residents in these islands to make sure and prepare now for this hurricane.”
Minister Thompson called on residents to pay close attention and to heed the advice from NEMA and the Royal Bahamas Police Force when it comes to information regarding evacuations. While evacuations in some areas are not mandatory, Minister Thompson noted that those who know that their homes are in flood prone zones should evacuate ahead of the storm passing over Grand Bahama.
“We also want to assure the public that NEMA has been preparing for months and they have been in a state of readiness for months, preparing for this time,” said Minister Thompson.
Administrators in Grand Bahama who were on hand for the press conference urged all Grand Bahama residents to take heed to the warnings given and to do the necessary preparations immediately.
“I want to echo the sentiments of the Minister for Grand Bahama and to say to those who are residents of Grand Bahama and the surrounding Cays, that even though NEMA and the Grand Bahama Disaster Committee have done our part, we need the residents to do their part to ensure their safety,” said Don Cornish, Administrator for Freeport.
“One of the things that we’ve done over the years is we’ve trained persons for these sorts of situations. We’ve trained First Responders and needs assessment responders, as well as shelter management managers.”
Ms. Karen Seymour, Manager for Tourism on Grand Bahama, said that they have already made contact with all of the hotels, resorts and timeshare facilities on the island, keeping them abreast of preparedness plans.
With over 1,000 visitors on the island, Ms. Seymour said that they are in contact with the airlines and the ferry services to help visitors change reservations and leave the island before the storm approaches, as a part of the Ministry’s safety measures for their visitors.
Successive meetings will continue on Thursday and Friday between the Office of the Prime Minister, NEMA and representatives of the GB Disaster Preparedness Committee, as the storm approaches.
“We have been here before, we have done this before, we have gone through these situations before and we are in a state of readiness, but we want persons to be vigilant and to be prepared,” said Minister Thompson.
“As I said, we will pray for the best, but we will be prepared for the worst.”
By Andrew Coakley
Photo Caption: Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson (centre) urged residents of Grand Bahama to begin making all of the necessary tasks to prepare for the passage of hurricane Dorian, during a press conference at the Office on the Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon, August 28, 2019. Before meeting with the press, Minister Thompson met with representatives of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and with members of the Grand Bahama Disaster Preparedness Committee, many of whom accompanied the Minister during the press conference.
(BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)