Bahamas seeking international funding to help with hurricane recovery

Dr Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister of Bahamas

The Bahamas government on Monday said it was looking to simplify a number of investment requirements and expedite investment applications as an estimated 300 local and international delegates, including representatives of governments, multilateral agencies and financial institutions, are participating in an international conference aimed at mobilising funds for the country following the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian last September.

“We will liberalise the process of investment for the affected areas,” Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis told the Hurricane Dorian Pledging Conference at the Baha Mar Convention Centre.

“Hard and difficult decisions must be made if we are to rebuild.”

— PM Minnis

He said that his administration is looking to simplify a number of investment requirements and expedite investment applications for Bahamian and international investors for Abaco, the Abaco Cays, and East End and West End, Grand Bahama.

“Hard and difficult decisions must be made if we are to rebuild, rebuild quickly, smartly and with resilience,” he said, promising that further details will be released in the coming weeks.

Damage estimated at US$3.4 billion

Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm lashed the archipelago on September 1 last year, killing at least 70 people and causing damage estimated at US$3.4 billion. Officials here say more than 200 people are still reported missing and assumed dead.

Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in the Bahamas last year.

The conference, organised by the government in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is also being attended by Luis Felipe López-Calva, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP’s Regional Director for the Latin American and Caribbean region; Denise E Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative for The Bahamas, Jamaica, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

Officials from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as well as several UN agencies are attending the conference with the organisers indicating that a number of high-level commitments consistent with government’s stated priorities are expected to be made at the conference.