Dorian National Service of Remembrance postponed

Dorian National Service of Remembrance postponed
DRA's managing director Katherine Forbes-Smith

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) has announced that it will further postpone of the National Service of Remembrance for victims lost during the passage of Hurricane Dorian last year, due to the nationwide coronavirus.

The memorial service was planned for March 28, 2020 in Dundas Town, Abaco.

However, according to the DRA, “current COVID-19 Emergency Order restrictions on movement, mass assembly and the emphasis on physical distancing make holding ceremonies difficult”.

The Category 5 storm, which decimated communities in Grand Bahama and Abaco last September affected nearly 30,000 people and killed at least 74 people.

The remains of 50 Hurricane Dorian victims are still in coolers on Abaco waiting to be buried.

It remains unclear how many people are still missing.

The government’s emergency powers order stipulates that large funerals are not permitted, limiting the ceremonies to ten members of the immediate family and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff.

A new date is expected to be announced when conditions allow for the event to take place.

The government’s emergency powers order stipulates that large funerals are not permitted, limiting the ceremonies to ten members of the immediate family and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff.

Katherine Forbes-Smith, Managing Director of the DRA said that the decision was agreed upon by the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Bahamas Christian Council and Abaco Christian Council.

She noted that all of the local pastors in Abaco came to the consensus to postpone out of respect for family members, “as they feel the object of this remembrance service is to have a ceremonial, proper Christian burial that all loved ones can attend.”

President of the Bahamas Christian Council Bishop Delton Fernander insisted that while the delay in the burials may be hard, the country must have patience,

“We have waited for this moment and have prepared the burial site to truly honor the lives of our loved ones, however, they deserve our patience and their families are entitled to share in a National Service of Remembrance, which speaks to how we as a people demonstrate dignity and respect for those who have lived among us and have played a role in the development of our society,” Fernander said.

“We are mindful of the appeal of some to proceed amidst this global pandemic, but the government of The Bahamas truly feels as though the Abaco community must be involved in this national act of homage and we endorse and fully support that sentiment.”