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Breaking News:

Hanna-Martin wants outreach centers reopened

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Sep 08, 2017

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Shadow Minister for Social Services Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday called on the government to reopen social services outreach centers for residents who may be in need of assistance as Hurricane Irma continues to barrel its way toward New Providence.

“It is noted with great concern that all social services outreach centers have been shut down as of 5 p.m. yesterday,” said Hanna-Martin, in a statement to the press.

“I am aware that government offices have been closed, except for all essential services.

“The Department of Social Services provides an essential service.

“I am advised that over the years the practice has been to keep the doors open to assist as much as possible in these circumstances.

“As a result of this drastic policy decision, untold numbers of Bahamians who are in vulnerable circumstances are unable to seek food and other assistance in the approach of a powerful tropical cyclone.

“The government is hereby being requested to immediately reopen those centers so as to ensure that no one is left behind in this critical moment.”

Deputy Director at the Department of Social Services Lillian Quant-Forbes yesterday confirmed that the government had shut down the social outreach centers on Wednesday.

Quant-Forbes said that the order to close the centers, which are considered governmental offices, came from Cabinet.

She said though the centers are considered essential services, the Department of Social Services is allowing its staff to do what they need to do to get prepared for the storm.

“Once they would have taken care of their personal business, meaning getting their homes in order, then they all will come and be on call for when NEMA says we are to activate our shelters and so then my social workers and my support staff, some of them, they will then come out and they will run our shelters for us,” Quant-Forbes said.

She added that the Department of Social Services is also in a state of preparation to deal with the possible devastation in the aftermath of the storm.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis stressed on Wednesday the importance of not politicizing Hurricane Irma and urged that both the government and the opposition work together during this time.


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