PLP calls for an investigation into the country’s preparedness for national emergency

Hon. Fred Mitchell


Sunday 28th August 2011

On behalf of all of the residents and voters in the Fox Hill constituency I am calling for an immediate and public investigation into the state of preparedness and readiness of our country to  respond to emergencies and weather disasters.

This must be done in light of recent events in response to Hurricane Irene which passed through The Bahamas last week.  In particular my concern is the response of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and Cable Bahamas to this most recent emergency.

My constituents were left without power from Wednesday 23rd August until in some parts Saturday 26th August at 5:45 p.m. They were left in the heat, in despair, and left without any explanations from either the public officials, access to BEC’s complaints line or their elected government.

Some people I am advised are still without power in New Providence.

To this date Cable Bahamas which has a monopoly on some services in this country has still not restored its services. This is occurring in a country which prides itself on being a centre for financial services.  Again, this is unacceptable.

The fact is emergencies will always happen.  It is how a country responds to those emergencies that is important.

The Prime Minister’s National Address in which he simply described the situation for us and then announced a number of flyovers and stopovers is not acceptable in a situation where people need immediate relief.

In the case of of the southeastern islands, it was unacceptable for the public officials to say when the storm had struck that they were unable to communicate with the southeastern Bahamas which is not even three hundred miles away from us.

During his address, the Prime Minister seemed to be patting himself on the back with self praise and self congratulations. This is no time for that.  This is a time for sober reflection and we must ask ourselves how in our capital city where the winds did not exceed  by some accounts 70 miles per hour, the infrastructure collapsed to the point where it took three days to get it back and running?

I call once again for a public investigation.