NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Abaco Christian Council has walked back its disapproval of the government’s decision to move up the date of the Remembrance Service for Hurricane Dorian victims on Abaco.
In a short statement last night, ACC President Pastor Edgburt Tinker said the council “has decided that it will assist the government with the interment service for those persons who died as a result of Hurricane Dorian”.
The event is now scheduled for Friday at 10am, more than a week from its “original date” of May 30.
Following the announcement on Monday, the ACC said it did not support the decision because it was not given a reason why the service was moved.
He told Eyewitness News last night that the ACC is now satisfied that the reasoning for the shift is justified.
He did not indicate what the authority’s reasoning was or why the council change its position.
The Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) said in its statement on Monday that it believed it “is now possible to have an appropriate service to honor those who died while allowing members of the Abaco community to participate in a manner that upholds public health guidelines.”
Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama between September 1-3, claiming the lives of a confirmed 74 people — and displacing thousands, many of whom resided in shantytown communities in Abaco.
The Category 5 storm destroyed the two largest of the six shantytowns on the island – The Mudd and the Peas.
Officials have reported that 282 people remain missing; however, the actual toll is expected to be much higher.
The government had allocated some $275,000 for the burial of unclaimed Dorian victims – which was expected to come from the consolidated fund, according to a Ministry of Health post-Dorian strategic response plan of action.
There have been several delays in the burial of the nearly 50 unclaimed Hurricane Dorian victims in coolers on Abaco.
As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a state of emergency was implemented and the government’s emergency powers prohibit large funerals, limiting the ceremonies to ten members of the immediate family and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff.
On Sunday, the prime minister announced the resumption of commercial activity on Abaco, as well as Cat Island, Long Island and Andros.
Those islands join Inagua, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, and Long Cay.