PM Christie Announces Exigency Order in Wake of Hurricane Matthew

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Hardship hits Lowe Sound Andros following Hurricane Matthew passage…

Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry Christie speaks with young people, whose homes were severely damaged during the passage Hurricane Matthew. The Prime Minister, Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell, and other high-ranking officials carried out an assessment on Saturday, October 8, 2016 to Lowe Sound, Andros and West End, Grand Bahama the areas hardest hit by the storm. (BIS Photo/Eric Rose)
Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry Christie speaks with young people, whose homes were severely damaged during the passage Hurricane Matthew. The Prime Minister, Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell, and other high-ranking officials carried out an assessment on Saturday, October 8, 2016 to Lowe Sound, Andros and West End, Grand Bahama the areas hardest hit by the storm. (BIS Photo/Eric Rose)

Nassau, The Bahamas — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie announced, on October 10, 2016, that an exigency order for properly-approved, privately-imported items would be instituted on Tuesday, October 11, and supplies assigned to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will be given duty and VAT free privilege, with no processing fee being assessed would for those NEMA goods.

“Emergency supplies — such as water, tarpaulins, generators, personal and building supplies — not assigned to NEMA or a recognized charity would be released upon confirmation by NEMA,” Prime Minister Christie said at a press conference at NEMA Headquarters, Gladstone Road.

“Therefore, any — so to speak — unauthorized purchase or importation must ultimately be approved my NEMA, if you are going to access the privileges offered by the Ministry of Finance,” he added.

Any abuser of those procedures would receive penalties under Customs Management Act, he warned.

Prime Minister Christie noted that the Customs Department had set up a telephone hotline in New Providence at 377-7027 or 377-7030 for persons seeking more information. For Grand Bahamas and the Family Islands, he said that persons should contact their local Customs office.

Prime Minister Christie said that given the economic costs of the disaster, Prime Minister Christie said, the Government is exploring the option of issuing — through its normal mechanism — a hurricane recovery and reconstruction bond.

In showing the possible immensity of the cost of Hurricane Matthew, Prime Minister Christie said that you could easily multiple the dollar value of the damage and recovery efforts to be easily three to four times that of the cost of last year’s Hurricane Joaquin — which was estimated at some $100 million.

“This will be very much more than Joaquin: enormous damage on thousands of Bahamians, who were not so affected in such number by Hurricane Joaquin,” Prime Minister Christie said.

The purpose of the funds raised by the bonds would be to have an accelerated reconstruction timeline, provide assistance to individuals affected by the hurricane and to provide assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, he said.