NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Myles Laroda, said government officials are in the process of reviewing several reports/studies with a view to beginning to address flooding concerns in New Providence. State-Minister Laroda said the Davis Administration “will always act in the best interests of the Bahamian people” and that includes the future management of disastrous events and/or emergencies. The State Minister has responsibility for the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA), among a number of other portfolios. His comments came ahead of a meeting with staff, and a tour of the facilities at the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, West Bay Street, as part of the State-Minister's assessment of local disaster management operations. That meeting was followed by a similar one with staff at the National Emergency Management Agency, Gladstone Road. Minister Laroda was also given a tour of the NEMA Headquarters. “I have received a report from the Ministry of Works that was pretty much detailed. I know several studies have been prepared with regards to Pinewood – which is a priority of this government -- but not just Pinewood, because Nassau Village is affected, parts of Seabreeze, parts of South Beach and so we will look at those reports with a view to bringing relief and putting that flooding situation behind us,” State Minister Laroda said.
“Everything will be on deck; everything will be considered with regards to moving forward and how we handle potential disastrous events including what can be done to prevent situations such as flooding as much as possible.”
The State-Minister was addressing members of the media prior to the start of the familiarization tour. Questions ranged from climate change, to planned site visits to Abaco and Grand Bahama that were both devastated by the monster storm Hurricane Dorian in 2019, to logistics, any expectations coming out of the familiarization tour, to flooding and others. The State-Minister announced that one-day visits have been planned for Abaco and Grand Bahama in the very near future.
State-Minister Laroda told the media that Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Edward “Brave” Davis, has already outlined the Administration’s position on climate change.
“The Prime Minister, in his maiden speech at the United Nations, clearly defined The Bahamas’ official position with regards to climate change in particular,” he said. “We are a country that suffers, through no fault of our own, and those decisions will be made by this Brave Davis/Chester Cooper Administration. We will decide in terms of the best interests of The Bahamas as it relates to climate change. (Again), we will act in the best interests of the Bahamian people.”
The State-Minister said the familiarization visit was necessary in order for him to gain a first-hand perspective. He said the visit is consistent with an ongoing review “as to what is going on so that we can know where we are and determine how we will be moving forward.”
“Any government that comes in would like to know the position of every agency,” Minister Laroda said. “As we go through our assessment of the relevant agencies, the priorities will be dictated by the technocrats as presented to the government and that will be a decision the government will take with regards to priorities.
“I come in with no expectations, only to be led by the facts and once that is a reality, then we will move in the direction as dictated by Cabinet. We have to have an assessment, figure out what was done right, what was done wrong, and then try to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses,” State Minister Laroda added.