In the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in Grand Bahama and Abaco three weeks ago, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced a new disaster preparedness ministry.
Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama, Iram Lewis, who has served for the past two years as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works, has been named the Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction.
He will be sworn in this afternoon.
Making the announcement at a press conference yesterday, Minnis said the new ministry will help to focus, and to coordinate the national response for the recovery, and reconstruction of Grand Bahama and Abaco, the second and third most populated islands in the archipelago.
He explained that Lewis would: be responsible for running the ministry on a daily basis; help to coordinate with Cabinet colleagues; help to coordinate the development of, and the functioning and work of the Ministry; help to coordinate with the leadership of the National Emergency Management Agency, and with the Hurricane Relief and Redevelopment Coordinators on Grand Bahama and Abaco.
The main body of the ministry will function as an Authority, similar to the Public Hospital Authority. It will be responsible for the reconstruction of Abaco and East Grand Bahama and will have an Executive Director and Board that will help to oversee the redevelopment of Abaco and East Grand Bahama.
“The Authority will have the powers and instruments of other such authorities, with the ability to act with great flexibility and rapidly,” Minnis said.
“It is critical that we remove the bureaucratic obstructions which may hinder recovery and reconstruction efforts on the ground. Where appropriate, we will ensure applicable, regulatory reform, and changes, as well as the removal of unnecessary regulatory roadblocks and red tape. We must, and we will rebuild, and restore Grand Bahama and Abaco stronger and more resilient.”