EDITORIAL: The greatest help for the greatest need

IN the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, one thing has been heartwarming amid the heartbreak – the support from people around the world.

Yesterday was another example of that – with donors pledging $1.5bn of funding and services for the recovery effort after Hurricane Dorian. From household names such as Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake to businesses and nations, a helping hand is being offered to lift The Bahamas back onto its feet.

One of the most startling offers is from The P3 Group – offering $975m in financing. That’s money that would need to be repaid, but it would come with the expertise that the group can offer to build social infrastructure.

Not every offer will fit with what is needed, and each should be scrutinised to keep out any predatory individuals trying to open the door to make profit on the back of the storm, but the sheer volume of support that the nation has had – from the first foreign soldier putting boots on the ground to help through to the vast number of non-profit organisations that have provided food, shelter, medicine and more – has lifted spirits at the hour of greatest need.

Well done, too, for the government to reach out actively to international delegates who attended yesterday’s conference at Baha Mar. This is not a time to be shy, there’s no room for hesitation when people literally do not have a roof over their heads.

Now let’s be sure the offers fit the needs of those who have been worst affected by the storm. A little extra due diligence by the government to ensure the offers match the needs, and a lot of thanks to those who have helped.

The numbers are staggering in terms of the financial support that has been offered – but they are also staggering in terms of the damage caused by the storm. Great help at the time of greatest need.

Thank you, all who have given, from the smallest spare coins to the largest of offers. It has been invaluable – and will continue to be invaluable as the rebuilding goes on.

There is no magic wand to make everything better right away – we’re in this for the long haul. And every penny makes that long road a little easier to navigate.

  Keep the rules - and make sure they are followed

There seems to have been nothing to get people talking quite like the ban on single-use plastics since its introduction at the turn of the year.

Uproar – or at least an outbreak of social media outrage.

There should be little shock about the introduction of the charge that goes with plastic bags and such – it’s been covered extensively in this newspaper and other media since it was little more than an election pledge.

The introduction was delayed enough to ensure a publicity campaign could make people aware… and yet still many have been taken by surprise.

Angry at this extra charge on their bill, some turn to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to throw blame. Credit to Dr Minnis, he is standing firm, stressing the importance of protecting the environment.

“I would always prefer losing an election than losing a country,” said Dr Minnis yesterday – and we agree. Too many politicians have short-term ideas that never fix a country’s long-term problems. This one tries to play its part in that – but of course such things come at a cost.

The idea is that the fee will be a deterrent, encouraging people to bring their own bags rather than be hit with an unnecessary charge.

Of course, the ban must be enforced. Some businesses are working their way through their remaining stocks in this transition period, but officials should keep a close watch on matters to ensure customers aren’t being exploited – and that rules aren’t being flouted.

There’s a long way to go to ensure our environment is protected as well as it might be – but this is a very necessary first step. Let’s remember as we take that step together that we do so as we seek to take our Bahamaland onward, and not be held back by bad habits of days gone by. It’s time to change. It’s time to do better. Let’s stop the complaining and raise our standards.