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BTC approaching $42 million in damage from Hurricane Matthew

  • Leon Williams.

Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Mar 22, 2017

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CEO of Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) Leon Williams revealed yesterday that third-party insurance claims for damage incurred following the passage of Hurricane Matthew have yet to be received; the company is approaching about $42 million in total damage from the Category 4 storm.

Williams added that 10 to 15 percent of the damage incurred would not be covered by insurance and would have to be paid out of BTC’s pockets.

Speaking to Guardian Business on the sidelines of a press conference, Williams said the company hopes to complete hurricane repairs by the end of March.

In November, Cable & Wireless Communications Limited (CWC), the part owner of BTC, said that BTC incurred total infrastructure repair costs estimated at $35 million to $45 million as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

CWC said BTC suffered significant infrastructure damage and business interruption from the storm. However, CWC noted that its third-party insurance was expected to cover a significant portion of the hurricane-related losses.

Williams said repairs remain ongoing, particularly for islands that suffered significant damage, such as Grand Bahama and North Andros.

He stated that more than 3,000 poles were lost as a result of Hurricane Matthew on Grand Bahama and the cost incurred was approximately $7.9 million.

“We are hoping to wrap up the repairs by the end of March. In places like Grand Bahama it is still ongoing, because we intend to replace a lot of that plant in Grand Bahama with fiber optic, so the copper cables we are replacing them with fiber optic. We are approaching about $42 million in damage. We are trying to tidy that up now in claims from the hurricane.”

Williams added that events such as Hurricanes Matthew and Joaquin are a “learning experience”.

He also revealed that damage incurred as a result of Hurricane Joaquin was around $20 million.

He noted that after Hurricane Matthew, one of BTC’s biggest problems was power.

“Since we needed power to run our equipment, we needed to fall back on our generators,” he said.


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