Friday, October 11, 2019

#242NewsBahamas Newsletter Edition: October 10th, 2019

Rubicon to The Rescue

Dear Readers,
It’s been more than a month since Dorian ripped through Grand Bahama Island. The destruction and devastation left behind by the storm has been well documented by the local and international media. We've been gripped and brought to tears by the stories of local heroism and survival.

For me, Dorian's destruction truly hit home. I spent my formative years on Grand Bahama Island, I went to high school there, Freeport was where I returned to after college, and I got my first job there. I lived a life there, forming long-lasting friendships. In the last month, many of the stories of loss and survival have come from my friends, people I know personally including my own mother; who was trapped in the ceiling of her home for hours as chest-high water rose in our family home. Since then, we've undertaken the daunting task of gutting the house and cleaning out the mold. Just the thought of taking on this project was and IS heartbreaking; sorting through damaged photos, soaked and moldy furniture, and clothing all of it is extremely difficult. 
Deep Water Cay Ceases Operations Due to Unforeseen Challenges
Deep Water Cay, East End, Grand Bahama – The owner of Deep Water Cay (DWC) - the country’s first and oldest bonefishing lodge - has announced plans to cease operations immediately. The difficult, but necessary decision comes following the passage of Hurricane Dorian, which caused widespread damage across parts of the Northern Bahamas.
For the past month, the team at DWC has been providing emergency aid and supplies, raising charitable funds, assessing the catastrophic damage to DWC, and liaising with insurance adjusters. The cleanup of the island homes, lodges, and guest facilities will require barges and heavy equipment, but the island lost its docks to facilitate this work. Additionally, the cay is far from safe or habitable, with only the runway clear of debris for landing aid planes.
“Expected clean-up of the cay is estimated at well over a million dollars,” said Paul R Vahldiek, Jr., president of DWCH and a major shareholder. “It will take at least six months and require heavy equipment, operators, and proper disposal of many tons of debris to clean the cay. With no idea when power will be restored to East End, and no structures that can be connected on the island, no housing, offices, functioning water or sewage treatment plants in place we have simply been forced by mother nature to close.”
Florida’s AVE International School Students Send Messages of Love & Hope in the wake of Hurricane Dorian
Freeport, Bahamas – In the month since Dorian ravaged both Grand Bahama Island and Abaco, the islands have received countless donations in support of the ongoing restoration efforts. Through the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF), donations have been received at their shipping address from near and far, providing much-needed relief items to the families and individuals most severely impacted by the storm. “This has been a truly trying time for residents here on Grand Bahama,” said Cheri Wood Warehouse Coordinator with the GBDRF. “We are eternally grateful for all the support and the many donations of food, water, and supplies that have been a great help to local communities.”

Teachers Recognized on World Teachers Day 2019
NASSAU, The Bahamas – “Teacher, teacher, you’re a star, how I love the way you are, up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Teacher, teacher you’re a star, how I love the way you are.”
Led by Nathaniel Adams Jr., a music teacher, on his drum, and sung by students of Claridge Primary School to the tune of the popular poem and lullaby ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ this was just one way in which teachers were honoured on World Teachers’ Day in The Bahamas.
Along with more than 100 countries recognizing World Teachers’ Day (WTD) Monday, October 19th, 2019, public schools throughout the island celebrated teachers for their unselfish, dedicated commitment to the teaching profession.
NEMA’s ‘Operation Relief’ Makes its way to Sweeting’s Cay and East End, Grand Bahama
The National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Operation Relief made its way to the quaint and peaceful settlements in East End and was received by residents with grateful hearts and opened arms.
Recently, the team, led by Senator Kay Forbes-Smith NEMA’s Grand Bahama Coordinator, loaded up a box truck of hurricane relief supplies and with a convoy of volunteers, headed to the communities of Grand Bahama that were the hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian when it blew through the island on September 1, 2019.
The trip to the East was more of a reconnaissance mission as much as it was a mission of supplying needed relief items.
Sweeting’s Cay was the destination, but obvious needs in communities along the way diverted the route, as Senator Forbes-Smith; Grand Bahama Christian Council President, Robert Lockhart; Island Administrators and NEMA volunteers stopped to deliver cases of water, canned goods, hygiene products, dry goods and words of encouragement to residents in other communities.
Government Continues to Monitor Oil Spill at Equinor
The Government continues to monitor the oil spill at Equinor, South Riding Point Oil storage facility on Grand Bahama. The National Oil Spill Contingency Advisory Committee, consisting of a cross-section of industry stakeholders, has been appointed to address the issue. To date, the committee has met on several occasions and key persons have visited the oil spill site to assess the scope of the spill.
Following the most recent site visit, it was revealed that the oil spill made incursions of the facility’s berm and spread inland up to seven miles into coppice environments north of the facility. It was also determined that what may have been initially reported as an oil slick in the ocean was actually seaweed. It was also confirmed that there was no immediate threat to human health and safety, however, a wildlife plan has been submitted for review by the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources in concert with the BEST Commission.
Miami Dolphins Alumni bring light to Grand Bahama residents
 The joint effort of NEMA Grand Bahama, Mission Resolve Foundation, and Miami Dolphin’s Football Unites brought smiles and joy to many residents with the donation of generators and an afternoon of food and entertainment.
Dolphins legends Nat Moore, Mark Duper, Jim Jensen, Louis Oliver and Shawn Wooden, along with the team mascot TD, were among those visiting Grand Bahama and were welcomed to the island by Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Iram Lewis and NEMA Grand Bahama’s coordinator, Senator the Hon. Katherine Forbes-Smith.

During a brief interview, Senator Smith said this is the third major event on a Saturday, a day when they go into the communities delivering hurricane relief items hence dubbed ‘Operation Relief Saturday’. It is a day, she continued, dedicated to inspiring young people despite all that went wrong with Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.
Prime Minister Minnis outlines temporary housing plan for Abaco
The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction is in the process of deploying temporary housing for government employees on Abaco, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday in his second communication on Hurricane Dorian response and recovery efforts.

The Prime Minister said 100 RV trailers will accommodate 300 critical government personnel, who will play an essential role in reconstruction and recovery. A protocol is being determined for the relocation of individuals back to Abaco.

A land site next to the Spring City subdivision on Abaco is also being prepared to create the Family Relief Centre, which will serve as temporary housing accommodations for families affected by Hurricane Dorian.
We are pleased to share a video update from the Bahamian Brewery & Beverage on their plans to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian:
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The Bahamas:
New Providence
October 18, 2019
  • We Gatchu: Digging Deep & Letting Go at NAGB 7pm - 9pm
October 26 - 27, 2019
  • Wine & Art Festival at Bahamas National Trust 12pm - 7pm
October 30, 2019
  • Hallowine at Liquid Courage, Cable Beach 6pm - 9pm
October 31, 2019
  • Trick or Treat at Kelly's, The Mall at Marathon 4pm - 7pm
November 9, 2019
  • Toyland Opening at Kelly's, The Mall at Marathon 9am - 12pm
Grand Bahama & Abaco Events
Events are on hold for Grand Bahama and Abaco until further notice. We do encourage you to eat at local restaurants, shop in local stores... to get both these economies going!
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