ENGLERSTON MP Glenys Hanna Martin. (File photo)
By SYANN THOMPSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
MP for Englerston, Glenys Hanna Martin is calling for the “dignified and respectful” removal of bodies which were stored after Hurricane Dorian.
In a statement to the press, Mrs Hanna Martin described the government’s response to Hurricane Dorian as “anaemic”. “We call for the immediate dignified and respectful removal of these remains. This grotesque situation playing out in the life of Abaconians is almost unspeakable and not consistent with our values as a Bahamian people,” said Ms Hanna-Martin.
She highlighted the uncertainty around the death toll and the public debate of the actual numbers of missing persons. “The reported scores of bodies of victims of Hurricane Dorian which are being stored in a container outside of the Abaco Hospital all these months is, however, a scandalous disgrace. I am advised that the bodies have been stored in this container for months and on occasion due to lack of timely refueling of the container's refrigeration unit, the bodies de-ice before the refrigeration is restored leading to degeneration and stench. I am further advised that the container is not secured with a lock,” said Mrs Hanna-Martin.
Meanwhile Health Minister Dr Duane Sands told The Tribune in an earlier interview that the outstanding issues would be to ensure that his ministry and relevant agencies have done everything that they could possibly do in terms of identifying bodies from the tragedy, including having the assistance of the International Red Cross to help immigrants reluctant to come forward. “We need to identify a place for interment. We need to agree on a type of grid that would be set up and how we would reference remains,” said Dr Sands.
In mass tragedies, the identification process can be prolonged; the September 11 attacks on New York is an example where victims are still being identified some 18 years later. In The Bahamas, the law states it takes seven years to declare a missing person dead, something Dr Sands says would have to be modified in view of the circumstances.