Residents from Southern Shore Communities (Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Bevans’ Town, Hunters and Mack Town), have become vocal with their grievances about the deplorable condition the general area is in four months after Hurricane Matthew.
West Grand Bahama Local Government Councillor (East Eight Mile Rock Township) and Hunters’ representative Simon Lewis along with residents Jackie Russell, Wilfred Bevans, Jan Russell and former Local Government Councillor and businesswoman Majorie Laing-Darville, lament what they call a serious “neglect.”
They are blaming the government and various agencies charged with executing work orders to help the Southern Shore Communities recover.
According to Laing-Darville, the situation is unacceptable.
“Personally, I am disappointed in the way our communities have been overlooked during the post-Hurricane Matthew Restoration and Recovery Process.
“Telephone service throughout the Southern Shore Communities was recently repaired, four months after Hurricane Matthew’s passage. Clean-up throughout the area has moved along at a snail’s pace due to the lack of proper equipment. Homes that sustained infrastructural damages particularly to roof tops, are still covered with tarp despite promises made that each one would be repaired in an expeditious manner by the Bahamas Government and other relevant agencies. Nothing has happened to date, which is clearly unacceptable to all concerned residents.
“The Hunter’s Post Office has allegedly been renovated at a cost of $100,000.00 by a contractor from Nassau, New Providence,” said Laing-Darville.
She referred to the size of the building (780 sq. ft./ 30 x 26), the scope of work carried out and recycled materials (windows, mailboxes etc.,) utilized during the process. The view was expressed that the work could have gone to contractors who reside in the area.
“Residents are saddened by the fact that there are at least four contractors residing throughout the Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard and Bevans’ Town, who were (reportedly) not given the opportunity to execute the repairs needed at the Hunter’s Post Office, which could have been done for $30.00 per sq. ft. Buckeye (BORCO) Co. Ltd., donated $400,000.00 to assist with the repairs and renovations however, it was deposited into the Bahamas Public Treasury instead of being used to directly help the residents of Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Bevans’ Town, Hunters and Mack Town, who need it most.
“Lastly, there has not been one significant investment made in the Southern Shore Communities by the neighboring industrial park companies. Like the current conditions residents have to endure on a daily basis, this is absolutely deplorable.”
The group of concerned Southern Shore Communities’ residents said they are tired of the empty promises made by the Bahamas Government and their political cronies and opponents whom they claim have used the plight of the people in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew as a tool to push forth their own agenda.
Local Government Councillor Lewis also expressed his disappointment with the efforts by the government to restore the Southern Shore Communities especially. He said he was in line with the allegations regarding garbage along the roadsides, and the repair works on damaged homes that have not been addressed.
He explained that he and his elected Local Government colleagues are handicapped by lack of funds.
“ I am at a profound loss for words at the almost non-existent pace by which repairs are being carried out to homes in the Hunters, the slow pace in Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Bevans’ Town and Mack Town communities.
“Garbage continues to line our roadsides and we the residents intend to hold a meeting with the Local Government Chief Council for West Grand Bahama, Jimmy Smith, inclusive of Southern Shores to make them aware of even more concerns that plague us.
“The number of houses that still have tarps on them some four months after Hurricane Matthew’s passage, is absolutely ridiculous and too many of the residents of the Southern Shore Communities are living in distress without any relief in sight.
“Mosquitoes, insects and rodents are increasing in these communities. The conditions are unsanitary. To know that hundreds of thousands of dollars and materials have been donated by charitable corporations and friends of Grand Bahama to help improve these communities and yet nothing is being done, is maddening.
"We are being left out and overlooked and while I have personally been to the Urban Renewal 2.0 Programme Office seeking aid and am grateful for the little they have done, certainly much more needs to be accomplished for the benefit of the people.
“There is too much to be done and very little happening. From one end of the Southern Shore Communities to the next, the area is in a terrible storm-torn condition and it need not be so.
“I have been made to understand that ministers of the Bahamas Government toured the Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Bevans’ Town, Hunters and Mack Town settlements and made promises to residents three months ago. We are in dire need of help yet nothing has been done to-date to assist any one.
“Yes, there are deep concerns and while Urban Renewal was able to repair the school right across the street from a resident by the name of Arnold Lewis and promised him assistance, nothing has been done to help and he is just one of many I can attest to facing the same or similar plight.
“Persons have spent their last and had hell to get tar paper, shingles, tarps etc., to begin the process of returning their homes and lives to a state of normalcy in spite of the aid that was to be provided and should have been rendered through NEMA,” Lewis maintained.
Upset that residents are bringing their complaints to him as their elected representative, Lewis said he does not like the nasty look of the Southern Shore Communities, particularly Hunters, which used to be clean, thriving and beautiful.
Furthermore, Lewis expressed his frustration with the Bahamas Government, which he claims seems to want Local Government and its councillors to fail, as there is not sufficient funding provided to conduct basic tasks like clean-up and collection of garbage on the roadside and maintenance of the graveyard. These obligations are to be handled monthly. According to Lewis, the schedule has now been reduced to every two to two and a half months, which is unacceptable.
“There are issues, funds for recurring expenditures like garbage collection every other week. Therefore the frustrating question must be asked, ‘What is the purpose of Local Government?’
“Besides all of that, the conditions of the roads that run throughout the Southern Shore Communities are deplorable as oftentimes traffic mishaps occur because motorists do their best to dodge falling in one pothole only to end up in another. This was an ongoing issue even before it got to this state.
“There seems to be no relief in sight and it is depressing that after Hurricane Matthew nothing has really been done to help residents here, especially as it regards the repairing of homes.
“We are better than the treatment doled out to us, smarter than the government gives us credit for and simply want more to be done,” Lewis declared.
Residents Jackie Russell, Wilfred Bevans, Jan Russell and many others continue to send out their pleas to the government and all other relevant authorities to do their job and help residents in and throughout Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Bevans’ Town, Hunters and Mack Town.
Published Monday, February 13, 2017