Smith says The Bahamas faces one of the greatest challenges in its history
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As thousands of residents in Abaco and Grand Bahama continue to reel from the devastating blow dealt by Hurricane Dorian, Governor General C.A. Smith last night said while the nation faces one of the greatest challenges in its history, he pledged that there will be “light and hope again”.
In a national address, Smith said it was with “great sadness” that he was addressing the nation during a time when it and its people have suffered a “most grievous blow at the hands of nature”.
He said from throughout the nation’s history, The Bahamas has encountered hurricanes of various magnitude, but none like Hurricane Dorian, which leveled Abaco and Grand Bahama, taking a confirmed 50 lives and counting, and displacing thousands.
“I remember a previous generation telling stories of the great storms of 1929 and 1932, but it is painfully clear that never before have we experienced such a destructive force as Hurricane Dorian,” the governor general.
“For what must have seen like an eternity to those in its path, this hurricane hovered over the northern Bahamas wreaking immeasurable havoc on Abaco, Grand Bahama and the surrounding cays, while some of its effects were felt much further south.
“As we continue to progress toward a full assessment, it is clear that the devastation is unprecedented in our history.”
Acknowledging the many lives lost, Smith expressed condolences to the families and friends who have lost loved ones, saying “I know your grief has no bounds and words are useless”.
“We as a country and as your countrymen grieve with you; you are not alone,” the governor general said. “My thoughts are prayers are with the thousands of families whose homes and properties have been severely damaged or destroyed and whose lives are now shattered.
“This is a dark and joyless time for those who have lost everything, but we pledge to you that there will be light and hope again.”
As he reflected on the destruction dealt to public infrastructure, describing it as degraded and in some instances non-existent, the governor general said The Bahamas faces one of the greatest challenges in its history — “that of rebuilding the lives of our people and our country”.
He said amidst disaster, the performance of men and women who were or remain on the frontlines has been inspiring. He thanked those who have answered the call to the humanitarian crisis in the affected islands, including the political directorate, those in the public service, meteorologists for keeping watch and the public informed; medical personnel, who he said continue to work tirelessly to save lives; the National Emergency Management Agency and all of the international organizations such as the United States Coast Guard.
He also thanked private citizens who have stepped forward to assist, and The Bahamas’ partners and neighbors in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
“We do need all the help we can get at this time,” he said. “My fellow Bahamians, we are a talented people. We are a resilient people. We are a compassionate and generous people, and I now call on each and every one of us to summon the best of ourselves; to meet to the awesome challenges that face us in rebuilding lives; rebuilding homes and communities. I have every confidence that together we can and we will make this happen.”
Smith said in the weeks and months ahead he will call on the compassion of all citizens, residents and friends of The Bahamas to offer the gifts and energies in the service of others, especially the more vulnerable.
“Let us now call forth all these qualities that have defined and sustained us through many generations and ask the help of Almighty God as we set about the task of rebuilding lives and our beloved Bahamas. May God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and may God bless us all.”