Relief Efforts, Message From BHA Chief

Print
A Message from BHA President Stuart Bowe
By and large The Bahamas tourism industry was sparred the full intensity of Hurricane Irene and clean-up efforts by hotels and attractions are well underway.  Major resorts on Nassau, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama are fully operational with few exceptions.   Except for the easternmost islands, most damage is landscaping-related.  There has been some minor roof damage.  Preliminary reports from Long Island, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Abaco, which suffered the brunt of the storm, are just reaching us.  Along with the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, we are assessing the extent of damages to hotels throughout the country and hope to have a good reading on that within several days.
 
We wish to commend the Government, in particular here in the capital, where crews from the Ministry of Environment, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, the Ministry of Works and others responded quickly and worked diligently around the clock to restore our infrastructure, along with those from The Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation and the Water and Sewage Corporation  
 
We are also grateful to the Civil Aviation Department and the Nassau Airport Development Company for their coordination and quick response in helping to get our airport facilities back in operation as quickly as possible.
 
Finally, we applaud our tourism partners.  The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, which leads readiness and response efforts for the tourism industry; the airlines, many which moved quickly to provide additional airlift; and our member hotel managers and their dedicated staff, for stepping up to the plate to ensure our guests were accommodated as comfortably as possible and our properties were prepared.
 
Contributions to Relief Effort…
Some of our members and friends abroad have inquired as to how best they can contribute towards any relief efforts.  We believe the greatest need will be in the Eastern and Southern islands.  The Minister of Tourism, Director General, BHA President and BHA Executive Vice President will be visiting several of those islands early this week to get a better understanding of their needs.  Meanwhile, we’ve reached out to NEMA and the Bahamas Red Cross to determine what organized relief efforts will be in place to ensure help is appropriately directed.  They did an assessment yesterday and today of the hardest hit islands and indicate they will get back to us by Monday with contribution details.
 
In communications with Cat Island colleagues, we’ve learned of immediate needs they have which are listed below, some which The Government is already providing.  These include:  Tarpalines, Visqueen, Roofing material, Plywood, Roofing nails, Insecticide, Gas, Diesel, Batteries, Flashlights, Candles, Matches, Food.  Private aircraft are able to get into Cat Island’s two airports.   We understand that relief supplies should be able to enter The Bahamas duty-free, and have requested clarification on this so we can communicate it to you.  The Government is also aware of the need to consider providing duty-relief for the hardest hit areas to support rebuilding and refurbishing over the next several months and hopefully we will learn of their decision shortly.
 
BHA Allied Member Lowes Hardware Offers Support…
Lowes wishes to remind members of their partnership with Tropical Shipping which provides for free pick up from select Lowe’s international locations and preferred shipping discount from the U.S. to the Bahamas.  They also extend a discount program to members which provides that any orders over $2500 may be eligible for product discounts.   You can contact them at   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 704-758-2129 (blackberry 704-929-4221) if you specifically require any material (generators, water, roofing, etc..).  Note that Lowe’s Command Center is also activated due to the fact that hurricane Irene has impacted the U.S.  and they indicate they can review and coordinate any needed requests in small and large quantities as quickly as possible.

Region’s Hotels Saved Millions on Insurance Claims With Services of BHA Allied Member Smith Orloff & Associates
Stan Smith is no stranger to The Bahamas and the Caribbean, having conducted workshops for BHA and CHTA and assisted several properties with the unique service which he and his firm provide.  In the event your property sustained an insured loss as a result of the hurricane we want to make sure you are aware of the resource available to you through Smith Orloff & Associates, insurance loss consultants to the Caribbean hotel sector.

Smith Orloff & Associates provide hoteliers professional assistance with their insurance claim recovery should their property suffer an insured loss. The benefit of using Smith Orloff is that they can assist in maximizing your property and business interruption recovery and insuring that you get the money you are entitled to as a result of a storm. Smith Orloff represents the policyholder with their insurance company in catastrophic losses. Their staff would assemble the claim and negotiate a settlement with your approval, allowing you to concentrate on getting your operations back to normal. Their work includes an in-depth analysis of your policy for coverages and potential problem areas and the preparation of detailed building, contents, extra expense, & business interruption claims.

Keep in mind that insurance companies hire professional adjusters to protect and represent their interests – many coming from the UK. In the event of a hurricane loss, it is in the hoteliers' best interest to also have a qualified and experienced expert to protect and represent their interests.  Smith Orloff and Associates typically provide their services with little or no upfront cost.

Smith Orloff can be contacted at 1-610-526-2213, 1-215-919-0261. Ask for Stan Smith, Leonard Orloff or John Crowley.