Here are the overarching facts we now face.
A National Disaster!
East Grand Bahama is in a State of Emergency, and awaits attention of the powers that be. The communities of East Grand Bahama were decimated by Dorian. Residents have met their demise and many others missing and presumed dead. Those survivors stated they held on to trees for dear life and spent up to two days in their ceilings waiting on the weather to break and the almost 33ft of storm surge to dissipate.
Our National Leaders have failed us simply by their refusal to act. Action needs to be the order of the day.
An Environmental Disaster
The Equinor Oil Storage Facility located at South Riding was greatly impacted by the hurricane, Oil and or its byproducts now cover the pristine environment to the north of the company. To date no warning has been given to residents as to their safety in the immediate neighborhood of High Rock or those that drive further East beyond the facility.
A Crisis in Leadership:
I. High Rock Sea Wall – where there once existed a poorly built sea wall in need of urgent repair, now exists a valley and excavated earth that aided in the presumed deaths of several residents as there was no coastal protection.
II. Evacuate VS. Be Alert/ Move in Land- misleading communication was put out in the community by NEMA Officials further perpetuated by Prime Minister Minnis where residents in communities namely High Rock and Gambier Point were told to be alert/move. A gross error all communities should have been asked to evacuate.
III. 150 A Head, in an effort to evacuate persons the government put on Flights by the National Airline that were a cost to residents at $150.00 per person with no shelter identified or announced for those who might have had the funds to escape the fury of Dorian, once they arrived in New Providence.
IV. The Head of NEMA on island and or any individuals that are responsible for the Management of The Agency should resign forthwith. They have failed the Northern Bahamas and most assuredly they have failed East Grand Bahama.
Partisan, Cherrypicking & Red Tape
During a recent visit of the Member of Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest to the eastern area, he selected who he and his delegation would visit and speak to for reasons unknown to this writer.
Specifically, the community of Gambier Point where residents weathered the hurricane in their roofs; they were unworthy of a courtesy visit by the MP. The people of McCleans Town also await him to see first hand their dire situation.
In time of crisis we expect representation not only nationally but at the constituency level. A more sincere response to the tragedy these residents survived is awaited.
International Friends of East Grand Bahama are being halted and choked in red tape as they try to assist their friends.
Politics should have no place in the present position that our people face.
Volunteers Committed to the Core
Currently on the ground in these eastern areas are only the locals, “A Few Good Men” determined to clear roads and restore their
Communities. No government support has been mobilized to clear the Highway in these settlements.
Whats Happening Now: Immediate Relief
Food and Water along with Emergency supplies are being coordinated by NEMA with Local Government, East GB Adminstrator Bowe and other International Partners including Rotary and other service clubs on the island. These reliefs are arriving in these communities via truck and residents are grateful.
What Should Also Be Happening
Temporary Housing should be identified in the form of Mobile Homes. Life-saving services need to be restored namely temporary medical facilities, policing services and counseling services.
We have received many sobering messages from Dorian. What is resolute:
- NEMA is defunct.
- Communication is in many instances nonexistent.
- The Governments response to this disaster has been a disaster in and of itself.
- The Grass is dead and if we wait on the Bahamas Government the cows will be next to go.*
Hope and Help needs to be headed to the East!