Bahamian companies have the necessary equipment and capacity to handle the massive clean-up of Abaco’s Dorian debris, a local contractor involved in the effort is arguing.
Atario Mitchell, president of Caribbean Pavement Solutions (CPS), said: “For the last four weeks, CPS, a subsidiary of The Bahamas Striping Group of Companies, was one of four companies mandated by the Government of The Bahamas to remove the debris from the shanty towns in Abaco.
“Our island has never seen anything as catastrophic as Hurricane Dorian and, as I listened to many family members and friends relive and describe the storm, I realised that it was an horrific experience for everyone who was on the island. I am taking a special interest in this project, as it is home for me, and I would have never imagined that this island would have experienced this magnitude of devastation.”
He reiterated: “I am taking a special interest in the clean-up because Abaco is my home, and I will always regard myself as an Abaconian. I have to do my part. My company and team will do our best to ensure that we play a role in ensuring that Abaco gets back on its feet, as we are resilient people and Abaco has the potential to be a burgeoning city once again.”
Caribbean Pavement Solutions is responsible for removing all debris, including white waste such as freezers and stoves; electronic waste including televisions and computers; and household waste such as mattresses, couches and beds; together with construction waste from The Mudd.
The company said it travelled to Abaco to conduct an initial assessment to ensure it would have the necessary equipment such as excavators, grapple trucks, boom cranes, forklifts, payloaders, backhoes, low boy trailers, dump trucks, D5 and D8 tractors, and other equipment to move the project forward on a timely basis.
Dr Allen Albury, Bahamas Striping’s managing director, said: “We have a steady movement of heavy equipment, but we want to ensure that the area is treated with a level of dignity because we know there would be a few discoveries of human remains and we want to ensure that we are handling them with sensitivity.”
He added that the team is making significant progress as the weather is co-operating, and expects the project will last for another six to eight weeks. CPS said they have hired 45 Abaco residents to assist with the clean-up.
Dr Albury added: “Bahamians have the capacity and the level of equipment to handle a project of this magnitude. We are dealing with an unparalleled level of disaster that still potentially has human remains. Therefore we have to handle the site with sensitivity, as we have to go through layers of debris.
“Our staff know from our safety briefings that if bodies are discovered, work in that area stops immediately and the local authorities are contacted along with the police, and the remains are removed before work commences. It is important that we ensure that all of our staff understand that no videos and photographs are allowed as we are certain that no family member wants to find out their loved ones has departed through social media.”