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Residents in East Grand Bahama benefit from solar streetlights, thanks to the DRA
By Andrew Coakley
May 10, 2021 - 8:58:54 AM

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CHECKING OUT PROGRESS OF PROJECT – Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson (center), along with Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (GB), Mr. Harcourt Brown (second from right) were in East Grand Bahama on Saturday, May 8, 2021 to check out progress being made on the East Grand Bahama Solar Lights Project, which provides street lighting for all of the communities of East Grand Bahama, which were severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Joining the team were Mr. Derek King, Electrical Engineer with Grand Bahama Procurement Construction Company Limited (right) and Mr. Hutchison, project manager (left). (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

EAST END, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas -- Thanks to the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) and Food for the Poor, residents of East Grand Bahama have street lighting as crews of the Grand Bahama Power Company continue to work towards full restoration of electricity to those communities.

Since devastation by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which ravaged East Grand Bahama, residents have had to endure living without electricity for months. Because the damage was so extensive in East Grand Bahama, the Power Company attended to getting other communities up and running first.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, responsible for the DRA, joined forces with Food for the Poor and the Ministry of Grand Bahama, to help provide much-needed street lighting within the East Grand Bahama communities.

Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction the Hon. Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, along with Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (GB), Mr. Harcourt Brown, toured portions of East Grand Bahama on Saturday, May 8, 2021, to view the work that has already been done on the project.

Minister Parker-Edgecombe said: “This is really the result of partnerships, not only on a local level, but on an international level -- the Ministry of Grand Bahama, the DRA and the company responsible for what’s going on here in the East communities, as well as those NGOs that came in and assisted us in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“Food for the Poor has been instrumental in donating these solar lights and we are thankful for them coming in and assisting us in repairing and rebuilding our communities.”

Minister Parker-Edgecombe said efforts by the government and working along with NGOs and other private partners is all about sustainability, moving forward and building back better.

“We look forward to these lights benefiting these communities in a significant way,” she added. “Moving forward, this is what we are going to be bringing to the table to ensure that our communities are safer. We are very appreciative of all of the hands that went into making this project a success.”

The project, which costs over $200,000, is something that has been well-received by the residents in each community.

The solar streetlights have been installed throughout the Eastern District – inclusive of Sweeting’s Cay, McClean’s Town, Pelican Point, High Rock, Free Town and Water Cay.

Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson pointed out that the solar light project has been a way to take advantage of an opportunity that was created by a crisis. He noted that the devastation of communities in East Grand Bahama has become known not only locally, but on an international scale.

“This really is a model of what really can be achieved in most or many of our Family Islands, he said.  “So, we want to congratulate the DRA and the Minister responsible for making this project a reality. This is just one of a number of renewable energy projects that’s going to come to East Grand Bahama.”

One of those major projects, according to Minister Thompson, will be a micro grid project that will help to make East Grand Bahama resilient in the face of future storms.  “We’re building it back, but we’re building it back better,” said Minister Thompson.

The solar lights are an all-in-one assembly, consisting of the light pole, the solar panel, battery and light fixture.  The solar panel collects power from the sun during the day, and at nightfall the streetlights come on automatically.

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