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Family Islands get special COVID-19 assistance

The Nassau Guardian March 31, 2020

The government has allocated $1.8 million to be used specifically to support COVID-19 measures on the Family Islands.

While the allocations for the different islands range from $10,000 to $325,000, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the average allocation is approximately $76,000, and more funding would be made available if needed.

“Strict financial management protocols have been put in place to administer the use of these funds,” he said yesterday.

“Under no circumstances are the COVID-19 Emergency Order Budgetary Allocations allowed to be utilized for the normal, routine Family Island local and central government expenditures.

“This allocation will enable them to procure any COVID-19-related items, in line with the Ministry of Health’s guidance and protocols, to manage this pandemic at the community level. Unused amounts at the end of the COVID-19 emergency period are to be returned to the Treasury Department.”

Turnquest said this new allocation is in keeping with the government’s commitment to reprioritize existing resources and to provide the necessary support to keep communities safe.

“With airports closed, movement restricted, and income streams being disrupted, many Family Island communities are feeling isolated and afraid,” he said.

“I want them to know that the government is making the necessary resources available to assist in the execution of the COVID-19 Emergency Orders.

“I am advising the House of these allocations to the various Family Island districts to give assurance to all Bahamians across the country that every Family Island community has in its possession the resources on hand to address any immediate need that may arise as we continue to navigate this pandemic.”

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