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55 Hurricane Dorian Victims Laid To Rest

The service in Central Pines, Abaco.

The service in Central Pines, Abaco.

By Tanya Smith-Cartwright

tscartwright@tribunemedia.net

THE families of 55 Hurricane Dorian victims finally saw their loved ones laid to rest on Friday – though many were still upset at the lack of answers over identification and the handling of the bodies.

In what was termed an Ecumenical Service and “Laying to Rest of the Souls of Hurricane Victims in Abaco” an eight-month emotional ordeal finally came to an end.

The mass burial took place in a public cemetery in Central Pines, Abaco. Many victims of the killer storm remain unaccounted for.

“I mean it’s good and all that we finally get these bodies out the trailer, but I see no dignity here,” said Miriam Taylor. “This was a sub-third world exercise. I saw so many crying, not just because they lost their loves ones, but because they have no idea who is who in these coffins. It’s like ‘You all complaining!? Let’s throw them together like flies and toss them in the hole.’ I feel for my people! This really saddened me today.”

Ms Taylor said she was not a relative of any of the victims, but was being supportive to a friend who actually had lost a relative to Dorian.

Once Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Abaco, for more than 48 hours it hovered over the island moving at just 1mph with winds sometimes gusting up to 220mph.

Stephan Williams said he just started living in Abaco before Dorian. Friday’s service for some, he said, was just as emotionally distressing as the storm itself.

“I really don’t think this government has the people at heart,” Williams said. “I’ve not seen people so distraught since the actual hurricane hit us last year. It’s like reliving it all over again. The prime minister asks if others have a heart and a soul. We need to ask him that. I feel like we have gone backward in time. He wouldn’t want his relative buried like this with no dignity.

“First of all, I really want to know why this took so long. It’s been eight months since this hurricane devastated Abaco. Abaco is still devastated. Abaco looks like Dorian has visited again and again. There’s no attention given here. Now we have COVID and everything is locked down. We are very frustrated here in Abaco.”

The Minnis administration came under heavy criticism for having the bodies of the victims unidentified in a trailer in Abaco for months. Citizens of Abaco felt it was unsanitary and disrespectful to their dead. Finally, the decision was made to bury the dead.

“We can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” said Sadie Cox. “I felt so bad for the family of those people. The bodies just sat there like dead trees or animals. Nobody cared! How can anyone feel good knowing that their relative was in a container all this time, frozen and stink? Now I am happy they are being buried, but how do we know who is who out there? We don’t know.”

Comments

ISpeakFacts 1 week, 2 days ago

Hurricane Dorian was over 8 months ago... only the lowest of the low (Minnis and Sands) would dare to keep 70+ bodies (Yes 70+, not 55 like the government wants you to believe) locked in a container behind the Marsh Harbour clinic for over 8 months!!!

Minnis and Sands BOTH need to be arrested and charged with the crime against humanity for the ruthless treatment shown to the victims of Dorian!!!

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DDK 1 week, 2 days ago

Far too late for any normal sense of closure and dignity in grieving for the loss of loved ones, made even more unbearable by the total destruction of the majority of Abaco. It is starting to surface that greed, yes greed, on the part of certain undertakers may have had a part to play in this most sickening lack of compassion and STUPID lack of administrative ability on the part of this pathetic excuse we have for a government. May the souls of these Dorian victims FINALLY rest in peace.

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CatIslandBoy 1 week, 2 days ago

I watched the service and must commend the Government for a job well done. There are those who will continue to complain no matter how the Government had handled this situation. These unfortunate victims had to be photographed, fingerprinted, and identified by loved ones. They also could have been claimed by next of kin. Given the amount of clean-up work, the coordination, and lack of sufficiently qualified professionals and then dealing with Covid-19 a short time later says the government should be congratulated and not vilified. I am really sick and tired of whining Bahamians. We complain for everything, and expect so much from our government. A truly sick, ungrateful, and unrepentant nation!

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ISpeakFacts 1 week, 2 days ago

If you watched the service then I take it you also saw how they threw a casket in the grave sideways, you must be slow as a snail if you think taking 8 months to bury a body is a job worth commending, 90% of the bodies still haven't been identified because the government refused to do dna testing, those caskets could be empty for all we know!!! You must be one of Minnis' cronies who will defend his every mistake LMAO

Covid also has nothing to do with this, they were locked up in a trailer for months before Covid arrived in the Bahamas, no sane person keeps bodies locked in a container for over 8 months!!!

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Hoda 1 week, 2 days ago

Threw? Two caskets slipped so they threw all the caskets in. How do you know they refuse to do testing, their statement said that the results were inclusive and required deeper analysis. What exactly does the govt get out of burying empty caskets and not testing dna? So your saying that the govt should release remains because someone swears they saw x in the trailer?

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ISpeakFacts 1 week, 2 days ago

The families have confirmed that their loved ones in the trailer had no finger prints taken or had any dna test! Also funny how you defend the government after Duane Sands himself said this trailer never existed, then a few days prior to his buffoonery comments he backtracked and said 50 bodies were in the trailer! The very same trailer that Cay Mills addressed to the world and the very same trailer that Sands said doesn't exist!!!

I like how you tried to defend the idiots throwing the casket into the grave but also had nothing to say when it came to the bodies being locked in a container behind the Marsh Harbour clinic for the past 8+ months...this government has let the people down once again and you are part of the reason why they can get away with it, you defend then like no tomorrow and they can't do anything wrong in your sheep like eyes!!!

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Hoda 1 week ago

Reread what you typed, focus on the issue at hand.

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Hoda 1 week ago

The trailer wasn’t apart of the topic. But, yes, it is terrible and in no way ideal. Now, you say no dna was ever done, I’m sure that was a mistake as it doesn’t support your argument. Nonetheless, should the remains be released based on the fact that x said they saw y in the trailer - or based on scientific evidence and confirmation.

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Hoda 1 week ago

53 caskets went in the ground without issue, 2 had an issue. think there is something disingenuous about saying they threw the caskets in the ground. But I know your comments are based on Facebook posts, headlines, and 1:20 clips.

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xtreme2x 1 week, 2 days ago

LOL...I WITH YOU ON THIS...SEEMS TO ME GOVERNMENT ARE BEING BLAME FOR THE CASKETS THAT WERE THROWN IN...LOL

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stillwaters 1 week, 1 day ago

And no matter what any government decides, there will be this group of disgruntled people who are actually more disappointed in how their poor decisions have led them down a rocky road......and, if course, they blame whichever government is in power.

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mandela 1 week ago

If this was your family or loved ones you'll be singing a different tune, he who feels it knows it, 9 months later.

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BahamaRed 1 week, 2 days ago

Someone tell Ms. Sadie Cox that the bodies were embalmed and therefore not frozen and stink. Also please tell her even if they weren't embalmed (which they were) frozen cannot be stink. #ijs

Furthermore, the government did the right thing in burying those people. Many criticized the government for how they handled the situation, but truth is many of those bodies were not claimed. And unless the DNA evidence was conclusive you cannot just release a body to someone because they claim it belongs to their family.

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