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Mar 2, 2023

The Challenge With “Building Back Better” In the Caribbean

Myles Lorado

During the negotiation period of the Sendai Framework the “Build Back Better” concept was introduced as a post-disaster response towards creating more resilient nations and societies. It is considered to be one of the most important concepts in the framework, and touches issues pertaining to the restoration of physical infrastructure, revitalization of livelihood and economy, and the restoration of local culture and environment. But, how practical is this concept in the Caribbean context, particularly for countries hit by multiple disasters at the same time? Immediately following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, COVID-19 exposed even greater vulnerabilities within the Bahamas and led to billions of dollars in losses in tourism. With mounting debts and high interest rates on international loans, Minister Myles Lorado says championing the “Building Back Better” concept is near impossible.


Myles Lorado, Minister of State (O.P.M.), Bahamas

“It is hard to build back better  when our realities are when we go to source funds, because of our vulnerabilities we are paying higher premiums in loans, higher interest rates. So, we are basically being punished twice. We have had to suffer the consequences of wealthier nations and we have to pay a higher price to put us in the same position we were in. We can’t event talk about moving forward, just to put us in the place we were in in the last hazard. So, that is our dilemma to make those countries sensitive to the fact that we are doing our best. We have strict building codes in the Bahamas, in fact some of the strictest in the region. In fact, Florida adopted their codes from the Bahamas after Hurricane Mathew in the nineties. So, it is not as we are just being negligent in terms of our codes and lifestyle.”

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