Nassau, Bahamas, October 23, 2016 – Residents in North Andros who were severely impacted by the powerful Hurricane Matthew almost two weeks ago are beginning to feel some sense of normalcy, as a massive clean-up campaign is almost completed in that Family Island community. On Sunday, October 23, two weeks after the Category 4 storm struck that area, Leonard Dames Jr. assistant administrator of North Andros gave an update of the recovery progress and how residents are coping.
“There is a sense of hope in their eyes as the relief supplies arrive and are given out to the residents. There are smiles on faces, friendly laughter amongst the people s they play cards and dominoes.” Mr. Dames said that the communities rallied together to help clean up their environment. Women used cutlasses to clear fallen trees from pathways. The Men used their pick-up trucks to cart away loads of debris to the waste and landfill site.
The residents are grateful that marines of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force were able to provide meals from its city container – cooking up to 720 meals a day including breakfast and dinner. Additionally, some 2,4000 gallons of drinking water is being distributed to residents. Bahamas Red Cross personnel on the ground were Deputy Director Diane Turnquest accompanied by Exanne Dormeus, Philip Johnson, Thomas Robinson, Harold McPhee and five volunteers. The team traveled to distribute 120 -50 pound packaged boxes to those mostly impacted by the Category 4 storm when it struck on Thursday, October 6.
A team of 50 Royal Bahamas Defence Force marines participated in a clean-up exercise in the Central Andros community. A drone for an aerial video of the damages was used to determine which areas needed cleaning. Mr. Dames noted that the communities of the North Andros District were traumatized as a result of Hurricane Matthew. But a “ray of hope” beamed over the residents with the arrival of a Bahamasair chartered flight on Saturday 8th October, 2016.
Onboard were the Rt Hon Perry Christie, Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition Dr Hubert Minnis, the Hon Shane Gibson, Minister Responsible for Hurricane Recovery and Restoration, Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell and other officials who conducted early assessments to find out immediate needs. This was the beginning of the “Hurricane Relief to the people of North Andros”, Mr. Dames said. Latest statistics show that North Andros has a population of about 3,998 residents.
Hurricane Matthew left in its wake extensive destruction in the settlement of Lowe Sound to 80 percent of homes. The neighboring communities of Nichol’s Town, Morgan’s Bluff, Red Bay’s and Mastic Point also experienced severe damages. Additionally, many homes experienced excessive flooding from storm surge up to 12 feet.
The initial assessment revealed that 238 persons – 134 adults and 104 children – were displaced. A total of 59 families who needed housing – 55 already placed and accommodations are being sought for the remaining 4. Initially, 31 homes were affected – 25 in Lowe Sound, 5 in Mastic Point and 1 in Conch Sound. However daily assessments are ongoing. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, relief supplies of fruit, vegetables, water and hygiene kits were distributed to residents by Defence Force marines and social workers.
Structural assessments were carried out by a team from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA of which The Bahamas is one of the 18-member Participating States. At the request of NEMA, the group formed three teams and was deployed in Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence. The team comprised experts in disaster and emergency management, physical planning, engineering, geospatial data analysis, healthcare, public health and environment. CDEMA is expected to submit an official report of its findings to NEMA, shortly.
Heads of the Methodist Church and the Methodist Habitat lead a team into the area with a view to rendering assistance in the relief, recovery and reconstruction phases. The police station was used as the command centre depot where gallons of bleach, hygienic kits, and pots/dishes, and cooking utensils were distributed to the residents in the communities. In the Lowe Sound area, work crews continued with the clearing of the streets consisting the RBDF advance team and workers from Emile Knowles Construction with the use of a pay loader and two dump trucks.
Volunteers prepared meals and drinks for those in need along with The Lord’s hand ministry, Alma Pratt, a resident of Conch Sound and the Mennonites who distributed fruits, vegetables and water. The Defense Force roll on roll off vessel is also scheduled to set up a site at Morgan’s Bluff to distribute water and food to the residents.
Other officials who also visited the damaged communities were the Hon Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Transport; the Hon V Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources who also toured the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute – BAMSI, the Hon Hope Strachan, Minister of Financial Services and of Local Government, the Hon Dr Perry Gomez, Minister of Health. Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General toured Andros on Friday, October 21, 2016.
Work crews are in the Lowe Sound community daily engaged in the cleanup exercise, Mr. Dames said.
Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis
By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.
In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.
“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.
Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.
And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”
Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.
“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”
Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.
The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’
The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year. Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.
While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home. So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.
In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg. The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.
Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.
This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurricane Ian impact on Cayman Islands
By Sherrica Thompson
#Cayman, October 1, 2022 – The Cayman Islands experienced fierce winds and high seas from Hurricane Ian on Monday, as the storm passed offshore, causing little lasting damage.
Some areas on the island experienced flooding as low-lying condo complexes and some residential back roads were inundated with water. Almost 4,000 homes were without power on Monday; however, most had electricity restored by the evening.
There were also no reports of any injuries, deaths, or serious structural damage. The country started its restoration process on Monday afternoon, clearing debris from the roads, surveying the damage and providing support to residents where needed.
“While we have been very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm, I’m extremely pleased to have seen the efforts made by the Caymanian public to prepare for ‘the worst, while praying for the best. In this situation, this is simply the safest, most strategic thing to do,” the Premier said
Despite the all-clear being issued on Monday evening, the Ministry of Education announced that government schools will remain closed to students until Wednesday, 28 September.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, authorities have declared emergencies in six areas, with forecasters warning of storm surges on the coast along with flash floods and mudslides.
Tens of thousands of people were told to leave their homes and seek shelter. Cuba could see up to 12 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian dramatically intensified and is blamed for at least two dozen deaths in Florida; where the storm struck with near category five force winds and a near 20 foot storm surge.
Over 700 rescue operations were activated in Florida in the aftermath of the storm, which is still wreaking havoc in the U.S.
Cayman photo credit: RC Cord
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