By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
QUEEN'S Cove is "a forgotten community" that is still in shambles five months after Hurricane Dorian.
The subdivision is vulnerable as incidents of stealing are a continuing problem for the few returning residents who are trying to rebuild.
According to some residents, the area is not getting as much attention from the government as the devastated East Grand Bahama settlements.
"None of the MPs or the prime minister have been here to see us. Everything is about High Rock," claimed one resident, who asked not to be identified.
"They don't understand we were affected too; they always speaking about High Rock and West End. It seems like Queen's Cove is a forgotten community," the resident complained.
"I would love to see the prime minister, deputy prime minister, and all these MPs come here and show us they care about us," she said.
Queen's Cove - a private subdivision in Freeport located on the north shore -- experienced a 15ft to 20ft surge during Dorian. All of the 86 homes there were severely damaged, and many of the residents have been displaced.
A couple who are rebuilding their home in Queen's Cove expressed frustration over the lack of assistance and support by those in government, including their MP.
They claim that relief efforts organised by the government are being handled poorly on Grand Bahama.
When contacted for comment, Pineridge MP Fred McAlpine said that he has been into Queen's Cove and understands their plight and frustration.
"I have gone into Queen's Cove, but I have not been door-to-door knocking to speak with anyone, but they are in my heart and mind and I understand their plight," he said.
Rev McAlpine said he too is frustrated over the slow pace at which the government is proceeding with recovery and relief efforts.
"I don't think the government has forgotten them, but I feel their frustration because the government is moving at a snail's pace, and there is too much red tape associated with the process," he said.
A resident who has lived in Queen's Cove since 1989 claimed no government official has come there. "I have not seen anyone come to assist us in any way," she said.
The elderly resident said moving out of the area is not an option for her. "I have no other choice but to return and rebuild because at my age I won't be able to find a job, so I have no other choice. I went and signed up with (Department of) Social Services, and I signed up with the Red Cross, and nothing happening. We went through many storms, but it wasn't like this," she said.
Electricity has not been fully restored to the area, and residents are being hit frequently by looters. Police presence has been virtually non-existent in the area, they claim.
Resident Bobby Rose, who this newspaper found checking on his property on Wednesday, discovered that someone was there trying to steal an electric dryer from his home.
"They have already taken the fridge. I called the police and they said they are so busy and can't come down here," he said.
Mr Rose's home suffered significant property damage. The entire rear section of the two-storey house had collapsed as a result of the surge.
"I built up, and the stilts were on the inside, but the walls fell down and the water was up in my house. I been living here 21 years, been through Floyd, and Frances and Jeanne, and was okay. But this one was really big and stayed too long," he said.
When asked about rebuilding, Mr Rose said: "I doubt it, maybe if I had insurance. But I couldn't get insurance after Frances and Jeanne."
Because Queen's Cove is designated as a flood-prone area, insurers do not provide insurance coverage for homes there.
Elderly resident Adrian Johnson, a retired police sergeant, said that he is tired of waiting on the government for help.
He showed The Tribune the repairs he has already made to his house. "I have been going to the government but have gotten no help. I have not gotten anything from the government to rebuild, I am doing what I can with the help of my daughter," he said.
The Tribune later caught up with a husband and wife who were very critical about the government's handling of relief efforts.
The couple said that going to government agencies for help is a waste of time.
"Our house was completely destroyed, and we lost everything," said the wife, who did not want to be named. "We have been going up and down to apply to various government agencies, and they giving you the run-around. We went to Social Services and it's been five months we have been to these places, and nothing."
The couple are not staying at their home in Queen's Cove, but have been visiting for the past five months cleaning and clearing out the debris. Power was restored to their home last week and they have shelled out some $15,000 in repairs --with more work to be done.
The husband complained that relief efforts organised by the government are being handled poorly.
He said that on several occasions, he went to NEMA for assistance, only to be told after standing in a long line that their cut off time is 2pm.
The resident recalled that after previous storms, under the former PLP government, a relief centre was set up at the airport taxi stand for residents of Queen's Cove.
"It is really depressing," he said. "Things were tough before the storm and a lot of families down here were trying to make ends meet," his wife added. "A lot of supplies are going to High Rock, but a lot of areas in Freeport were affected too, like Arden Forest, and the Back of Town and other communities."
Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, MP for East Grand Bahama, said the frustrations felt by residents in Queen's Cove are the same for residents in East Grand Bahama.
"If you asked the same question in Pine Bay or High Rock or West End, they would say the same thing. There is no doubt we can do better but hopefully, they will go to the Disaster Recovery Authority and register," Mr Turnquest said.
On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis officially launched the Small Homes Repair Programme on Grand Bahama to assist Bahamians with rebuilding their homes. Purchase orders, ranging from $2,500 and $10,000, are being granted to persons who qualify. Applicants can visit the DRA's office in the Office of the Prime Minister or register online at www.drabahamas.org.