Remarks by US Charge d’Affaires Lisa Johnson
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. It is a pleasure to visit Great Inagua. I’m delighted you have joined us here to celebrate the continued partnership between the United States and The Bahamas, including ensuring the safety of all citizens in the region as we enter another hurricane season.
The U.S. Embassy and the U.S. military’s Northern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program have been working with NEMA since December 2009 to support its requirement for three emergency relief warehouses located in the north, central, and southern islands of The Bahamas to enable timely post-hurricane disaster response and relief.
The central warehouse, located in Coral Harbour, was constructed in 1989. In 2013, we inaugurated the warehouse in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Today, we fulfill our long-standing vision with the ribbon-cutting of the third and final $1.8 million warehouse.
The United States and The Bahamas have a remarkably close and productive bilateral partnership founded on bolstering security, strengthening democracy, promoting prosperity and investing in people. Our aligned national interests, shared values, commitment to the rule of law, and enthusiasm for strong social and economic ties across our common border make The Bahamas one of our closest partners in the Western Hemisphere.
Our close relationship also means assisting each other in preparation for whatever Mother Nature may have in store for us. Our nations face common natural hazards, including flooding brought on by tropical storms and hurricanes, which in recent years have claimed lives and property in the region. We have worked together to assist and rebuild. I trust this new emergency relief warehouse will enable NEMA to assist Bahamians in the event of any future natural disasters.
Please join me in thanking NORTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program Team, led by our J9 Interagency Director Mr. Randy Zeller for their perseverance, diligence, and professionalism in seeing this magnificent project come to fruition, and also in thanking Captain Stephen Russell, NEMA Director, for his vision and continued stewardship of a vital agency for the safety of us all. We look forward to our continued collaboration in the years to come.