September 16, 2019
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie Campbell, Sunday applauded the efforts of the thousands of public service employees throughout The Bahamas whom he said have gone “above and beyond” the call of duty in responding to the needs of the thousands of persons displaced and otherwise affected by the monster Hurricane Dorian.
Minister Campbell said a number of the public service employees have themselves either lost relatives, homes, property and personal effects as a result of the hurricane, but have made the commitment to providing exemplary service as part of the government’s response mechanism to the storm that smashed through parts of the Northern Bahamas as a monster Category 5 Hurricane.
Public Service employees have played, and continue to play, key roles in the relief and rescue efforts as First Responders, as members of Rapid Assessment Teams, as part of Search and Rescue Teams, by providing security for shelters, as volunteers, as part of food management teams, as part of Health Teams, that have been providing medical services and as the core group of Shelter Management Team and shelter workers.
Minister Campbell highlighted the efforts of the Shelter Management Teams -- led by employees of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development – who have been working feverishly to receive, register and console (in many instances) evacuees of the storm who have either presented at the shelters established under the remit of the Ministry and its Departments, and/or at the island’s ports of entry.
Ministry personnel have been able to call on colleagues from the Department of Social Services, the Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs and the Urban Renewal Commission, in addition to staff of the Ministry’s various Divisions and Units, to provide assistance as part of the Shelter Management Teams.
Fourteen Shelter areas – ten in New Providence, two in Grand Bahama and one each in Abaco and Eleuthera -- have been established under the remit of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development with additional ones prepared for opening as needs require.
Colleagues from the National Sports Authority (NSA), Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (in the case of the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Shelter compound), the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, along with the many volunteers, are working around the clock to ensure that the guests – who include families, women and children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and men -- are accounted for, fed, clothed and otherwise provided for.v “At this point, we have been inundated with persons requiring shelter as a result of evacuations from Grand Bahama and Abaco, but our shelter workers -- our social workers and other ministry staff, our shelter workers, our Defence Force personnel, our healthcare personnel, our volunteers -- have been working very hard to ensure that our guests have the best possible shelter stays,” Minister Campbell said.
“I recall a young man at the Kendal G.L. National Gymnasium (where four shelter areas have been established), who is the gymnasium manager, and who hasn’t been home from our efforts began. Every time I visit he is there. Every time I visit, he is working, he is organizing something, he is cleaning up, he is helping someone and loving every minute of it.
“I leave from there and go to the Fox Hill Community Centre and I have to beg the Member of Parliament to go home, take a break. She is there. The social workers are there. The medical practitioners are there. The Defence Force personnel are there, providing 24-hour security services to the facility and all others where shelters have been opened, and the approved volunteers are there. That story is repeated at every shelter that falls under the remit of the Ministry.
“I hear of persons who show up to shelters with meals for 30 persons. I hear of persons who show up to the shelters with clothing or toys for children. I visit shelters and I am told the stories of persons who want to remain anonymous, but who donated something, or gave something, and to me that is the true Christian spirit – persons from all walks of life just giving of their time, just giving of their talents, just giving of their treasures.
“I hear of the complaints and we are working to bring some more coordination to the help and assistance, but there is no perfect situation in a disaster, particularly one such as monstrous as Hurricane Dorian,” Minister Campbell added.
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie Campbell (centre), addressing members of the Senior Directorate of the Ministry and its Departments and Heads of the various Divisions that comprise the Ministry of Social Services, during the regular update schedule.
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell (front centre) along with the senior directorate of the Ministry and Heads of Divisions, recently visited the shelters that fall under the Ministry’s remit. Also pictured with Minister Campbell (front row from left) are: Mrs. Lilian Quant-Forbes, Director, Department of Social Services and (at right) Mrs. Phedra Rahming, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development. Pictured (second row from left) are: Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Director, Department of Gender and Family Affairs; Mrs. Andrea Newbold, Shelter Manager, Kendal G.L. Isaacs Compound; and Mr. Kellen Russell, Acting Director, Urban Renewal Commission. Pictured (at back) is Mr. Arthur Thompson, Manager, Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
(BIS Photo/Matt Maura)