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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Sep 11, 2017 - 7:50:29 PM

Grand Bahama Set to Return to Normal After Hurricane Irma
By Andrew Coakley, Bahamas Information Services
Sep 11, 2017 - 5:46:07 PM

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Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for East End, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, addressed the two-hour, live broadcast press conference at the Emergency Operations Centre in Freeport on Monday, September 11, 2017. The DPM said that all agencies (both Government and private) were working expeditiously to restore electricity, water and other utilities to the island of Grand Bahama following the passing of Hurricane Irma on Sunday.

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The process for the restoration of utilities, as well as certain infrastructure in Grand Bahama has begun.

With the remnants of Hurricane Irma quickly pulling away, Grand Bahamians, like many Bahamians who were adversely affected by the major devastating storm, have begun to put together the pieces, and bring normalcy to their lives.

In a two-hour press conference at the Emergency Operation Centre, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest and by Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson, officials and representatives from all of the relevant agencies revealed their respective plans for the restoration of Grand Bahama.

Because Grand Bahama did not suffer the full impact of Hurricane Irma on Sunday, September 10, 2017, it was revealed by all who addressedMonday’spress conference that restoration will not be as difficult and prolonged as it was following hurricane Matthew last year October.

“God is good, and we could all agree that Grand Bahama and most of the densely populated part of the country dodged a bullet this time,” said Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest.

“The memories of (hurricane) Matthew is fresh in our minds and so we certainly want to acknowledge and give God thanks for having spared us from a devastating storm.”

According to officials from the various agencies and corporations, power, water and other utilities are expected to be restored within a short period of time. Minister Turnquest pointed out that Grand Bahama International airport will be re-opened by Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson (at podium) led a full press briefing at the Emergency Operations Centre in Freeport on Monday, September 11, 2017, to advise the public on the various phases that will be implemented to restore normalcy for Grand Bahamians following the passing of Hurricane Irma on Sunday night. On hand for the Press Briefing were all the Grand Bahama representatives, inclusive of Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for East End, K. Peter Turnquest; Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama, Iram Lewis; Member of Parliament for Lucaya, Fredrick McAlpine; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture and Member of Parliament for Marco City, Michael Pintard; Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for West End and Bimini, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe (not pictured), and President of the Senate, Mrs. K. Forbes-Smith. (BIS Photos/Lisa Davis)

However, because all of the power has not yet been restored to the airport, there will be no pre-clearance services for anyone traveling from GB International airport on U.S. flights. All passengers will have to post-clear once they arrive within the United States.

“That (pre-clearance) will not happen for a day or two, because officers will need to return to Freeport and to get their systems up and going,” explained Minister Turnquest. “So, it will be a day or two before we have full operations at the U.S. Pre-Clearance Terminal.

“Additionally, Freeport Harbor Company, as well as Freeport Container Port will re-open for normal services on Tuesday, September 12.”

While jubilant about “minor” damages caused by Hurricane Irma to the island of Grand Bahama, Minister Turnquest said that his prayers were with those who did suffer significant personal loss to their homes and property as a result of tornadoes that touched down in Grand Bahamaon Sunday.

He called for other residents to not only pray for those who suffered loss in Hurricane Irma, but he also called on other residents to respect the privacy and dignity of those who may have lost so much; and at the same time, he asked Grand Bahamians to be “their brother’s keeper” and lend a helping hand.

“You would have heard that Bimini suffered significant damage and it may take a little longer to have full restoration there,” said Minister Turnquest. “There was also significant damage in other islands like Ragged Island and in the Southern islands like Mayguana and Inagua.

“These Bahamians will require our assistance. As persons from around the country helped us when we were in need last year, we call on Bahamians here in Grand Bahama to lend their assistance to your brothers and sisters in those islands.”

Officials from the Grand Bahama Power Company and the Grand Bahama Utilities Company indicated during the press conference that they expect full services of electricity and water to be restored to Grand Bahama by the end of the week, if not sooner.

The Ministry of Works removed shutters to the entrances of Government buildings and schools to allow officials to go in and assess their respective properties and offices. Schools in Grand Bahama underwent minor damage and are expected to be re-opened later this week.

“We are in the process now of repatriating those individuals who were evacuated from the Southern Bahamas and from other islands to Grand Bahama,” said Minister Turnquest. “And I want to thank the Minister of State for Grand Bahama and all of the people who worked along with him and with the Emergency Operation Centre, both here in Freeport, as well as in East End to help us get through hurricane Irma with little devastation.”

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