Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley speaking to the media during a post-Cabinet press conference at Government Headquarters this evening. Also pictured is Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall. (GP)

Government will match whatever money citizens pledge during Sunday’s national telethon to raise funds for the Bahamas, which was severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian earlier this week.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made this disclosure this evening during a post-Cabinet press conference, at Government Headquarters.

Ms. Mottley told the media: “We are in an IMF programme, but my Government has agreed we will match whatever Barbadians put, at the very least, and therefore I would like us to see at least $500,000 donated by Barbadians on Sunday….

“How ever little and how ever difficult it is for individuals, and Jah knows that I know, we can do a little something….  Know this, that if that first weekend, [when that storm was heading to Barbados] the tale of Dorian was different, it would be others doing for us what I am asking Barbadians to do for Bahamians. Let us play our part and support those who need our assistance, as we go forward.”

The Prime Minister said the cash was needed at this time to allow the country to do a number of critical things.  She noted that a special CDEMA  Barbados Bahamas Bank Account – 1001186684 – had been created at CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, and the money would be channelled there.

Cabinet, she pointed out, had agreed that if the Regional Security System made any requests to Barbados for assistance, the country would play a major role in supplying any needed troops to assist the Bahamian people in maintaining law and order.

“The two most important things in stabilization after a hurricane are law and order to prevent looting and crime and to prevent public health outbreaks…Therefore, we will play whatever role that the Bahamians ask us to.…

“I feel for my colleague Prime Minister [Hubert] Minnis because the pressure of everybody’s expectations coming at you at one and the same time, means that in order to prioritize, you will disappoint.  But you have to prioritize and save the national interest first and foremost,” she insisted.

According to Ms. Mottley, this meant that Prime Minister Minnis would have to ensure the society was safe, and minimize chances for any public health outbreaks.

She noted that the Bahamas was now conducting its needs assessment, which she described as a complex task.  Therefore, she said, persons must be patient as the necessary work is done.

Ms. Mottley stressed that the Bahamas Government was doing what it had to do, but was equally constrained by the country’s capacity.  “Flying over the Bahamas yesterday, even for me, I became acutely aware of the vastness,” she explained.

She pointed out that the Bahamas Government was working hard under challenging circumstances.

“When you get on the ground you realize the Government is doing a lot more than people are trying to suggest. I have some sympathy and empathy for my colleague and for the people of the Bahamas,” the Prime Minister said.

Sunday’s national telethon will be at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, The Pine, from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m.  It is being supported by the media houses.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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