By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
AS he urged Bahamians to unite in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd said animosity and blame towards Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis for relief-related issues is not helpful as anguish and suffering remain great.
Bishop Boyd said the most disheartening aspect of this ongoing humanitarian crisis is the negativity that has permeated almost every storm-related effort.
While he conceded that some things have gone wrong as the nation grapples with this tragedy, Bishop Boyd said Dorian was an unprecedented monster storm, which happened in a country unaccustomed to events of this magnitude.
Expressing concern for storm victims, including those who lost loved ones, he said continued negativity will not help to heal people who are broken and uncertain.
“The prime minister, the Cabinet, the government and all its departments and agencies have been stretched beyond their limits over the last two weeks,” Bishop Boyd said in a statement released yesterday. “I think that they have done well, all things considered, and are to be commended. I repeat, our best efforts could not have prepared us for this event. Some things did not go smoothly.
“There are some things that we need to do better but this is a natural disaster that is much bigger than any to which we are accustomed, so what do you expect? We will learn from this experience - protocols, regimes and procedures will be expanded and others created. We will grow because of this - but all experiences cause people to do that.”
Some have complained that the government’s response was slow in the immediate moments after Dorian flattened homes and communities in both Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Others have said that aid and relief for the sick and hurt was insufficient.
Bishop Boyd called for patience and understanding from those who want the recovery efforts to move faster.
“…While some things have gone wrong, natural disasters are messy and things cannot be resolved at the speed and ease of the ideal,” Bishop Boyd continued. “Many of the delays in rescuing and recovering could not be avoided in the circumstance and given our standing local resources. Human dislocation and evacuation are tedious and harrowing in the best of circumstances. Patience and understanding are key in this scenario.
“Abaco, Grand Bahama and the whole Bahamas will not be the same for a long time. There are years of healing, settling and resettling, rebuilding and redevelopment before us. Entire local economies have to be rebuilt.
“However, right now the pain and anguish and suffering are great, for all of us. Blaming the prime minister – any prime minister – is not helpful. Lambasting the government – any government – is of no value. We need to come together, not be divided. Animosity and competition, fighting among ourselves and being at odds do not heal.”
While conceding that “everything is not perfect” at the moment, the religious leader called for more positivity to help the nation move forward.
He said: “Let us work harder on being positive. I admit that everything is not perfect and that there is always room for improvements. However, we need to create a national atmosphere that is more positive and encouraging. Interpreting every occurrence in a negative or conspiratorial light does not ease burdens.
“Tell the stories of survival not as criticisms, but as what they are: triumph in the face of great odds. Tell the stories of those who overcame great odds. I believe that the Bahamas will overcome this.
“There are people of all ages who have been traumatised severely. We will all need ongoing love, counselling and support. But, a negative atmosphere will not help anyone to heal. We need to use this time to speak encouragement and healing and well-being, to calm and to reassure the broken and the uncertain.
“I call on the users of social media and the members of the press to help to ease the national angst with more positive stories and outlooks and with more love and cheerfulness. Acts of kindness and a kind atmosphere do more to cause healing than the discussion and negativity that is so prevalent in some quarters.”
With the Bahamas now looking to rebuild, Bishop Boyd said even the country’s best efforts and systems could not do it alone.
“The fact of the matter is that as a country we are not accustomed to events of this magnitude. We have no experience with events of this magnitude. Even countries much larger than us find it difficult to cope with a storm such and its aftermath. Our best efforts alone would not be sufficient. That is why we are so grateful for the United States, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Holland, Canada and other countries. Our best systems, infrastructure, efforts and resources could never do it alone,” Bishop Boyd said.