BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday September 9, 2019 – Barbadians dug deep into their pockets to raise BDS$440,956.41 (US$220,478.20) in a national telethon yesterday to raise funds for the Bahamas, which was severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian last week.
It was not quite the BDS$500,000 (US$250,000) Prime Minister Mia Mottley had been hoping citizens would pledge, but that target could still be met as Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs, Senator Lucille Moe urged Barbadians to continue donating as the online platform would remain open for another 48 hours, while accounts at FirstCaribbean International Bank would be open until weekend.
If it does, Barbados could be sending BDS$1 million (US$500,000) to help the hurricane-hit Abaco and Grand Bahama which Dorian devastated last week, as Prime Minister Mottley said government would match whatever was raised.
“We are in an IMF programme, but my Government has agreed we will match whatever Barbadians put, at the very least…,” she had said at a post-Cabinet media briefing.
The Prime Minister said Cabinet had also 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 [Dr 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 said.
Prime Minister Mottley stressed that the Bahamas Government was doing what it had to, but was equally constrained by the country’s capacity.
“Flying over the Bahamas…even for me, I became acutely aware of the vastness,” said the Barbadian leader who had visited the hurricane-ravaged islands last Thursday.
“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.”