A LACK of action by the government, no law on the streets, rampant theft and a future filled with nothing but uncertainty.
That’s the reality of life in Abaco right now, according to the residents who are having to live through conditions that remain horrendous after Hurricane Dorian.
In recent days, there has been much talk about a hard line from immigration and people with work permits whose jobs might have been wiped out by the storm being told to get out of the country.
It’s the sound of a government acting tough – but according to residents of Abaco, there’s little to no sign of a government acting at all.
One resident told our reporter that he lost everything in Hurricane Dorian. He has no job now, and nowhere to turn. Of Haitian descent, he was born in The Bahamas. He wants to find work, he wants to buy property, and he wants to build. But there’s no one for him to turn to.
He’s not alone. Another man talked of how “everybody lose everything” and he too said he is waiting to hear from the government. Yet another man - with a job and a valid work permit - was clearing debris from his apartment and said he didn’t know what the government was going to say or do.
Elsewhere, a woman warned that “Abaco don’t got no law right now” amid fears of looters, and said if anyone tried to come into her Marsh Harbour home, she would “shoot anyone dead”.
A blunt sign was painted on a board outside one apartment complex: You loot, we shoot.
One resident said he raised the issue of looting with National Security Minister Marvin Dames - but didn’t get a satisfactory answer.
There are a host of different concerns — jobs, security, property, rebuilding, health — but time and again residents spoke about the absence of a satisfactory government response, or even any sign of the government’s presence.
These residents are the people at the heart of the disaster zone, and they have no idea of what the government is doing or is planning to do to help them.
Perhaps this is why the death toll count is so slow. Yesterday, our reporters saw a body being retrieved and being taken to be stored in a large refrigerated trailer. But if there is little to no sign of government being on hand to help the living, is this why there seems to be a lack of concerted effort to find the dead?
So is all the sound and fury from Carl Bethel or Elsworth Johnson with regard to a hard line on immigration just a distraction from the failures of government elsewhere? You cannot talk about being firm on law and order when there is no law and order for residents who are taking up arms themselves to defend themselves with no security in sight.
The most basic function of government is to protect the people. The people of Abaco are not feeling protected right now, and this government needs to step up.