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How The Mudd And Pigeon Peas Were Lost

The extensive damage and destruction in The Mudd after Hurricane Dorian. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

The extensive damage and destruction in The Mudd after Hurricane Dorian. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

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Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Wilson Isnord in The Mudd community

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net 

PASTOR Wilson Isnord, a tall, youthful leader in the Haitian community, walked through puddles of water and piles of trash with a blowhorn in hand as rain fell from overcast skies, shouting a simple message in Creole and English: “Get out and evacuate.”

Defence Force officers accompanied him through the Mudd and Pigeon Peas of Abaco some 12 hours before Hurricane Dorian made landfall last Sunday.

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An evacuation warning for residents of The Mudd and Pigeon Peas. Photo: Terrel W Carey

There were dilapidated houses densely packed together, throngs of electrical wires illegally strewn from house to house, and piles of garbage seemingly not collected for weeks - all the trappings of life in these sprawling shantytowns -the country’s two largest, before Dorian decimated them.

Music blared from speakers. Men crowded into barber shops to get haircuts. Cats, dogs and chickens roamed the area. Children played in the mud. 

Some people gathered and listened to Pastor Isnord’s pleas, others mocked him, but most paid him no mind. 

Several people, including a man with an 11-month-old child in his arms, said they didn’t know where the shelters were and therefore didn’t plan to go. 

The scene remained lively with activity - but not evacuation - when The Tribune passed the area six hours before the storm hit.

Less than 10 hours later, the Mudd and Pigeon Peas would be gone and hundreds would be feared dead under its rubble. 

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Residents of The Mudd evacuate to the government complex on Abaco

Regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, during the storm, experiences of all Abaconians seemed to converge when Hurricane Dorian struck. Many, not familiar with severe flooding in areas like Murphy Town and Dundas Town, were stunned to suddenly be trapped in closets or on roofs, and they used the lull that came with the passage of the eye to seek shelter and higher ground. 

But for many in the shantytowns the density of the buildings and the roughness of the landscape made escape impossible. 

Residents there thought they had enough time to observe how strong the storm would be and determine whether evacuation was necessary. 

“We didn’t leave because we were being hard-headed,” said Peria, a 23-year-old, newly married, one-month pregnant woman who escaped the Pigeon Peas in the arms of her 26-year-old husband Cliff alongside her two young children. 

The Tribune met the young couple at the government complex on Wednesday morning as they headed outside seeking somewhere to bathe.

“Most people don’t evacuate during storms,” Cliff said. “They wait to see the storm for themselves and that’s when they decide. Also, the times we were hearing were inaccurate. First they said it was supposed to come this time and this time, and later and later, so we kept moving up and down, back and forth until people stopped leaving.”

For law enforcement and government officials watching the storm through the windows of the government complex, the scene during the lull was staggering.

They watched as seemingly thousands of people from the Mudd and Pigeon Peas seeped through the tall, intricate bushes that separate the complex from the shantytowns and from the roadways that surround the area. 

Abaco island administrator Maxine Duncombe made a command decision to open up the complex, home to government departments from the National Insurance Board to the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation, to the now displaced residents fleeing the storm. In the subsequent days, people slept in hallways, on desks, tables, chairs, or while standing up. Many couldn't sleep at all and the complex buzzed with human activity throughout the nights.

Reporters were warned not to walk barefoot in the corridors because people had been urinating and defecating on ground. 

“We saw people get carry before our eyes,” Cliff said about escaping the Peas during the storm. “We had two children and had to swim out of 30 feet of surging water. It even carried my wife. I had to hold on to her. I had no idea what would happen. We knew it would flood, but we thought it would gradually grow; but I watched the water grow from a foot to 30 feet in about three minutes.”

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Destruction in The Mudd. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

Turning to his wife, Cliff eyes' bulged. “I seen Cybil’s mother who’s dead," he said, "her head is swollen already, her head and face. I seen it kill two people at one time between two buildings. Things were flying and knocking down people trying to run. One is my friend and one is his mother. His mother was with us but he had to get his son out, he got his son out but he died when he went back for his mother.”

Cliff’s story was almost identical to that told by Kevin Altidor, a professional basketball player in Europe whose nephew, Brenden Dion Altidor, spent the hurricane on a tree where he had been placed by his stepfather who went back to rescue his mother. 

Like many, Cliff’s wife Peria said her family lost all their identification documents, prompting concern about what her fate will ultimately be in the Bahamas. She said she was a Bahamian citizen. 

She matter of factly revealed that her mother was killed during the storm. 

“I feel like when it will hit me is when I have to disclose that to my 13-year-old sister, my 15-year-old brother living in the States, and my mother also has a 26-year-old living in Jamaica studying to be a brain surgeon, so he doesn’t know that she’s dead.”

“I saw my house in the Peas and my house is resting on top of a dead body, and that dead body been there since Sunday and it’s now Wednesday,” she said. Though pregnant, she had not seen a doctor up to the time she spoke to The Tribune, fearing that they would transport her to Nassau and separate her from her family. 

When Dorian’s winds weakened, displaced residents at the shelter - just like residents elsewhere on the island - began to loot. They pushed trolleys back and forth from the Save-A-Lot warehouse to the government complex, sometimes making multiple trips. They carried water, packaged foods and alcohol. Some stripped naked and bathed in broad daylight. 

They washed clothes they somehow salvaged and hung them out to dry on the trees surrounding the government complex. 

Some visited the Mudd and Peas after the storm, hoping to salvage valuables, but mostly recovering nothing from the rubble. Some beckoned to people passing them by, saying: "Come see the dead body.” This included bodies of three people who were crushed under the roof of a church just outside the Peas; eight people had evacuated there during the storm, the condition of five of them unknown. 

On Wednesday, The Tribune found Mr Isnord, the Haitian pastor, at the government complex. 

Although he lived in Central Pines, he too had escaped to the complex with his family after the windows in his house blew out and the water began to rise. 

“Everyone here has a story to tell about persons who died,” he said. “The mental state is terrible. People are traumatised, trying to cope with the situation the best way they can. You don’t know what is next, don’t know what the plans are, so whatever we can do to make things better, we are doing it.”

Some of the residents, unable to speak English, walked up to reporters that had recording devices, begging in Creole that their messages be recorded and taken to family and friends outside Abaco. 

Some talked openly about wanting to rebuild the Mudd.

“These people won’t let us stay here, ma boy, that's why I took four bags of cement and will rebuild as soon as the floods go down,” one man said. 

Many others just want to leave Abaco behind. 

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 1 day ago

The headline to this article is very misleading because the relocation of the Mudd and Peas from Marsh Harbour to new shanty towns on New Providence Island with the same names has been personally authorized by Minnis. Now Nassuvians can kiss their island good-bye!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 1 day ago

And to think our dimwitted PM Minnis who is now playing the 'grief stricken card' has personally approved relocating many of the violent illegal Haitian aliens from Abaco to New Providence where they will quickly join existing terrorizing gangs of their brethren who have been wreaking havoc on New Providence for decades now. Minnis is clearly mentally unbalanced. This is all happening because the Minnis-led FNM government has never had the gonads necessary to properly deal with the illegal Haitian alien situation.

Atlantis and Baha Mar must be awfully concerned about Minnis's decision to relocate many of 14,000+ illegal Haitian aliens in Abaco and Grand Bahama to New Providence given the risks of serious outbreaks of highly infectious diseases and uncontrollable crime. Many fear Minnis is now too emotionally unbalanced and overwhelmed to think straight. If his sensability and triage training as a doctor doesn't soon kick in we are liable to lose our whole country. Tourists will not be coming to Nassau, Eleuthera or the Exumas if Minnis's seriously flawed decisions result in either the outbreak of serious and highly infectious diseases on New Providence, or an outbreak of rampant violent crime. The last thing we need is for the U.S. military and medical pernnel to have to be called in to help restore law and order on New Providence while rescuing U.S. citizens and U.S. residents. THINK MINNIS......THINK, THINK THINK!!!!

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Topdude 1 week, 1 day ago

Oh what a tangled web we weave once we practice to deceive. Sic Mudda I hope the Counselors and Psychologists have some room on their daily schedule for the next year to accommodate your needs for mental health assistance. Over a very long period of time. And hope you seek forgiveness from the Almighty.

You cannot believe this utter nonsense and prejudice you are writing about our fellow Bahamians who have Haitian roots. What is your purpose? Are you trying to fan the flames of internecine conflict in our Bahamaland? Does it make you feel happy to see your hateful words in print? Come on please stop it now and please take the high road. Please let us see you write positive things if you have a need to be heard online.

When the Almighty looks at us do you think he differentiates between those of us with Haitian roots and those with non-Haitian roots? In his eyes we are all his children. However when Judgement Day comes and we have to face him he will differentiate between those of us who were helpers of our brothers and sisters and those who were not. Between those sowed the seeds of righteousness and those who sowed the seeds of hate, prejudice, discrimination and classism.

Someday when you are on your death bed, these brutal sins that you are committing will be placed in front of you and I hope you have enough time to repent before it is too late and you end up in hell. That hell will be a place far worse than the hellhole you describe our Haitian Brothers and Sisters as living in. Repent now, ask our Lord For forgiveness, seek his presence in your life before it is too late.

God Bless you and your family.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

You are indeed one bent mental case...but this crisis has laid you and your kind bear for all to see Topdude....and to think you and your kind thought they could govern with church preacher speak alone. When Bahamians went to the polls in May 2017 they were voting for what they thought would be a competent and non-corrupt government. We were promised it would be the Bahamian people's time. The Bahamian public had no idea they would end up with a wannabe church preacher who likes to quote scripture and thinks he holds the keys to get through the pearly gates of heaven.

By the way, did you see the PBS half-hour special last night on what the international community and many Dorian survivors now think about the Bahamian government's role in the handling, or should I say, mishandling, of the crisis to date, and the likely unnecessary additional loss of lives in the aftermath of Dorian?

Trust me, I'm the least of your worries....wait until you see what's headed the way of you and your kind in the coming weeks and months. Wishing you and yours everything deserved as you go about seeking to turn the Bahamas into a crime ridden, impoverished and disease infested satellite state of Haiti.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

bear s/b bare in 1st sentence of post immediately above...but I'm one of those terrible spellers who won't dare turn off auto spelling functions.

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SP 1 week, 1 day ago

Illegal Haitians that successive governments were too weak to deal with are now an extra burden on taxpayers and will now loot, terrorize and get rid of Bahamians.

This scenario was bound to happen sooner or later. We can thank Pindling, Ingraham, Christie, and Minnis for allowing illegal Haitians to threaten our way of life.

Great job PLP & FNM.

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TalRussell 1 week, 1 day ago

Ma Comrade SP, isn't it fair comment that the obvious absence colony's own emergency response teams on the ground during the 6 days since Hurricane Dorian touched down in the Abaco's and Grand Bahama, has absolutely nothing to do with the PLP, except since hurricane, Brave seems have become PM's newest elected House lap puppy, yes, no ....

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Liberty45 6 days, 20 hours ago

The hurricanes are getting stronger every year. Don't wish bad for others because the Bahamas is below sea level and there aren't many higher level ground to go hide when the next one strikes. We allowed many Bahamians to come to the U.S. visa free after Dorian striked. Hopefully some of you small minded Bahamians can have the same human heart for your other slaves brothers and sisters.

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joeblow 6 days, 9 hours ago

Bahamians are literate and employable and many obtained degrees in US universities. They are not like your average immigrant coming from across the border or Haiti! BTW you sound like a supercilious dullard!

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CiteYourSource 1 week, 1 day ago

It's a little hard to figure why Haitians occupied the Abacos other than that the Bahamian Government couldn't have cared less...

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mandela 1 week, 1 day ago

It's so, so sad, but the FNM was trying to get them moved and relocated over a year ago but Fred Smith and the other rights group fought the FNM and Dr. Minnis and put a stop thru the courts on the relocation exercise, but had they moved then they would not be in this predicament, perhaps then was their gift from God thru the FNM and Dr. Minnis, Fred Smith, and the other rights group thanks, the FNM saw how those areas were a disaster within/on its own just waiting to happen, maybe by fire, maybe by disease from unsanitary living, but sadly it came with the name Dorian and did exactly what the FNM and Dr. Minnis were trying to avoid for those areas the Mudd, and Peas, the used to shanty towns of Marsh Habour.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

You've been sold a worthless bill of goods. The Minnis-led FNM government was never the least bit serious about seeking to apprehend and deport back to Haiti the many thousands of Haitians who have illegally entered our country. If the FNM government were truly serious about doing that they would have never allowed them to gain any form of representation in our parliament and Franky Campbell and Darren Henfield would not be cabinet ministers today. Four words should always automatically come to mind whenever Minnis come to mind: Deceitful, Arrogant, Nasty and Incompetent.

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TalRussell 1 week, 1 day ago

Ma Comrade Mandela, "King's Counsel" Freddy, simply used the legal process to halt the demolishing of Shantytowns - so why hasn't there been further legal action to move the legal needle process forward by the central government since way back in August 2018 after the colony's Supreme Court ordered the central government and utility providers to halt any planned service disconnections or evictions in shanty towns pending a judicial review of the Minnis administration’s policy to eradicate those communities, yes, no only fair to share the blame ....

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TalRussell 1 week ago

Ma Comrade, to be fair although the man's misguidnesses does makes it easy populaces believe otherwise - still I am going disagree with you on your position that the colony's PM supports some kinds of an invasion, yes, no.... Is the PM, totally lacking in the skills required be governing over Realm, indeed but not prepared to express doubt man's love his Bahamaland ....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

Am I drawing you out as one of our few illegal Haitian alien sympathizers? I suspect Minnis sent an official note of condolences on behalf of the Bahamian people to the government of Haiti for the Dorian related loss of Haitian lives, most of whom were Haitians who illegally entered the Bahamas.

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TalRussell 1 week ago

My new comrade sources are correcting that the machine gun armed robbers did rob an official customs officer but were 'NOT' wearing policeman's uniforms.

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JimmyZ 1 week, 1 day ago

> infighting is predictable in such situations. Others will attempt to make a political football out of grave disasters. Imagine if the rest of the Caribbean, the continent, or indeed, the world, adopted such a divisive and inhumane approach to the lotta yAll..... (in a time of such great woe, loss, devastation, destruction and despair) based upon some other kind of externally obvious characteristic..... like the fact they're French speakers who happen to reside inside the Commonwealth of Nations?

| Thinkaboutthatwhydontyja?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

Keep waving the flag of Haiti....Minnis likes its colours and may soon be promoting legislation calling for it to be hoisted and flown over Government House.

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banker 6 days, 19 hours ago

You're a sick man with no humanity left in you. I don't give a sht if they are illegals, black, white, reds or anything in between. They are all human beings facing obstacles bigger than anyone could imagine -- being washed away by a hurricane, killed, poverty, hunger, the whole works. You sit in your house and idly write snide remarks with little disregard for the magnitude of suffering. It's asholes like you that give humanity a bad name. All of these people are human beings that deserve dignity, respect and a chance at life.

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SP 1 week ago

The reality is armed groups of Haitians are now roaming Abaco robbing anyone they come in contact with!

Thanks, PLP and FNM.

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TalRussell 1 week ago

Ma Comrade SP, shockingly there is what 'appears be a credible report' coming out Abaco of creole speaking individuals dressed in colony's policeman's uniforms, armed with machine guns - stopping and robbing a Customs official of his wallet, yes, no .... the PM needs forthwith step forward clarify if any truth this disturbing, alarming all Abacoians circulating claim by a man's'claiming' be a high Customs official ....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

One thing is for sure, you're a bonafide virulent source of much fake news. Yes, plenty of armed violence and looting by illegal Haitian aliens.....but the rest of what you say is highly questionable unless you can point to independent news reports from reputable media outlets.

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TalRussell 1 week ago

My new comrade sources are correcting that the machine gun armed robbers did rob an official customs but were 'NOT' wearing policeman's uniforms.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

Repost:

The BIA noted that its industry partners, including insurance adjusters and catastrophe response experts, have been engaged and are on standby in Nassau, in Florida and in the region. “Following the ‘all clear’ and with the coordination of the relevant authorities on the ground, teams will be deployed as soon as possible to begin assessments,” the BIA said.​

What part of the well publicized and documented fact that all of Central and Northern Abaco has been completely decimated do they not get? The same goes for much of Grand Bahama. These insurance vultures should simply be cutting cheques to the insured individuals and businesses for the maximum amount of losses covered by their insurance policies, save for third party liability coverages. Instead these insurance vultures want to delay the claims settlement process in the hope of being able to persuade traumatized and desperate survivors, who have lost everything, to sign a piece of paper evidencing their agreement to accept claim settlement amounts that are much lower than they are truly entitled to receive.

The extensive aerial video coverage that has been made public of the complete and utter destruction caused by this cataclysmic event is plently evidence enough that the insurance adjusters and catastrophe experts really have nothing at all to do in the case of the vast majority of the insurance policies. The last thing insured traumatized survivors who have lost everything need right now is stress and pressure tactics from greedy insurers seeking to minimize their insurance claim settlements.

The Insurance Commissioner of The Bahamas needs to get off of her well endowed derrière and immediately make certain expected and warranted public announcements aimed at protecting insured individuals and businesses from the well known predatory practices of property and casualty insurers. These announcements should include full page notices in The Tribune, The Nassau Guardian and The Punch, as well as public announcements on the two main local TV stations (JCN not being one of them). The announcements should also appear on the Insurance Commission's official website.

The Insurance Commission must set up a special 'Dorian' unit within her official Office to handle inquiries and complaints of aggrieved policyholders who have good reason to believe they may be victims of predatory insurance practices aimed at depriving them of the claim settlement proceeds to which they are entitled to receive at the earliest possible time. Insurers found to be engaged in predatory practices should face appropriate penalties including the possibility of their insurance underwriting capabilities being suspended pending the outcome of an investigation of their conduct by the Commissioner's Office.

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jamaicaproud 6 days, 22 hours ago

The black Bahamian is just like a SouthAfrican. Don't see themself as African origin. Talking about haitian roots. You almost got wiped off the face of the map and all you can think about is Haitians this and Haitians that. I don't know what they teach in your school's and church. But it seems to be hatred.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 days, 19 hours ago

I don't hear the Jamaican government stepping up the plate and saying to the Bahamian government that they will take/absorb into their country any of the 14,000+ homeless illegal Haitian aliens from Abaco and Grand Bahama in order to ease the burden on the Bahamas of the monumentally costly crisis caused by Hurricane Dorian. I guess that says a whole lot about the generosity of Jamaicans. And to think Jamaica always touts itself as one of the wealthier countries in the Caribbean Region.

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jamaicaproud 6 days, 18 hours ago

Jamaica has never touted itself as wealthy nothing. We all know it's not true. As far as you and your dirty mind. Leave the Haitians to die. Spend Millions deporting them. You sick bastard. Lacking in compassion, at best a brute. Instead of thanking God your silly self wasn't washed away, you obsess about Haitians. Have you considered this may be a warning. Next time you Al may not be so fortunate. I will revisit this spot in 2 weeks when the next storm passes.

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jamaicaproud 6 days, 18 hours ago

Jamaica contribution will be that Jamaicans with no shame will arrive to rebuild your country. Provide expertise in construction, HVAC, electric, Surveying, Teachers, Carpenters etc. Get ready for the influx. Do you think your economy will grow by obsessing about black foreigners.

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joeblow 6 days, 9 hours ago

@jamaicaproud ... its about time we get something from that parasitic brood who have leached millions of dollars from this economy over the years! Marrying for residency or work permits but still having Jamaican sweethearts!

You have not had the misfortune of living in a country that others have wanted to rape and pillage for their own gain, so you cannot understand our perspective! Your country's greatest export is its people!!

And remember the quality of life you enjoy is not because you are a proud Jamaican in Jamaica, but because you have found opportunities in the Bahamas! Show some respect and gratitude!

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Liberty45 6 days, 19 hours ago

Some of you commenting on these posts are very insensitive. Have you guys seen how the world is ready to help the Bahamas? It seems like many of you are the type of Donald Trump like-minded. Remember there is a God watching. If there is one thing to learn from the storm is to be humble. Just appreciate life for what it is.

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sealice 6 days, 18 hours ago

should have taken the opportunity to load them on the inagua spray and take em straight to haiti

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