The mass burial of 55 Hurricane Dorian victims in Abaco.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
CENTRAL and South Abaco MP James Albury has called for an inquiry into the process that led to the burial of 55 Hurricane Dorian victims on Friday.
Yesterday, Official Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis said Mr Albury should resign as parliamentary secretary in view of his concerns.
“He’s a parliamentary secretary which makes him a part of the executive. What happened was an executive decision and for him to be questioning that executive decision puts him outside what I call the convention of collective responsibility that they all share and whenever you are questioning that decision then you can’t be a part of that team anymore,” Mr Davis said.
Free National Movement chairman Carl Culmer declined to comment yesterday on the matter and Mr Albury did not answer calls seeking comment.
Mr Albury attended Friday’s controversial ecumenical service.
However, he wrote in a letter on Saturday: “As you are aware, on Friday, May 22, the bodies of 55 victims of Hurricane Dorian were laid to rest at the Central Pines Public Cemetery. Though some in Abaco feel a sense of relief and closure that the victims’ bodies have now been laid to rest, as we approach another hurricane season, there are many who will remain unsure of the location and fate of their loved one(s).
“Sir, I would be remiss if I did not request that a formal inquiry into this eight to nine month process and the timelines of this procedure be looked into by the appropriate agencies. I feel a review of this is not only imperative for the families of Abaco, but also for the proper handling of any further mass casualty events––God forbid.
“I believe your assistance with this may help in bringing answers and further closure to the people of Abaco. Please know that I am appreciative of the ongoing efforts made by the Disaster Reconstruction Authority as they carry out their mandate, and this letter does not seek to reflect poorly on them, but to request clarity on the matter at hand.”
In a statement on Saturday, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said Westminster conventions dictate that Mr Albury now break ties with the executive.
“There is recent precedent on this,” he said. “Mr Albury has fallen into the same error as did his parliamentary colleague Travis Robinson, who by convention was bound by the Cabinet’s decision to hike value added tax by 60 percent, yet Robinson opposed and voted against the tax hike in Parliament. We all know what naturally followed under Westminster conventions.”
Mr Albury is parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister in Abaco. Friday’s service was marred with controversy as some residents protested the event and were angered that due to social distancing guidelines, many who lost loved ones could not grieve properly. Some also claimed there was not enough communication from authorities ahead of time.