OPM holds special luncheon for Dorian responders, workers
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said while there has been tremendous progress in the past three months since Hurricane Dorian decimated portions of Grand Bahama and Abaco, the road ahead to recover and rebuild is a long one.
However, the prime minister said the government, its agencies and the people will rebuild stronger and more resilient.
He said: “The lighthouse at Hope Town on Elbow Cay remains as a symbol of hope as we rebuild,”
The Office of the Prime Minister hosted a luncheon at the National Training Agency (NTA) for first responders, law enforcement, and other personnel who were involved in the response to the storm and the ongoing recovery effort.
Dorian leveled communities in Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, affecting an estimated 30,000 and killing at least 70 people.
More than 200 people are missing, according to an internal report; however, an official figure has not been released in weeks.
Amid the destruction, confusion and desperation during the height of the storm, there were countless stories of heroism: men and women risking their lives to save others.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the was an enormous outreach effort both locally and internationally.
Minnis pointed out that in the midst of a crisis of major disaster, many stories never get a full hearing and the broader narrative of certain stories are never fully told.
He said one of those stories is the hard work and dedication of scores of public officers and citizens who gave their all during and in the aftermath of the deadly storm.
“We are grateful for the help offered The Bahamas by foreign governments and international partners,” the prime minister said.
“We are still working with a number of international groups, both public and private. But this is only part of the story.
“The bigger picture, the bigger story is about the many public officers and agency workers on the ground throughout Abaco and Grand Bahama, who came to rescue of fellow-citizens; who helped to maintain law and order; who showed courage in the midst a terrible crisis.
“On the ground on Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama today, there are many public officers leading recovery and reconstruction efforts amidst difficult circumstances.
“The bigger picture and the bigger story includes all of you here today and many others who worked around the clock before, during and after Dorian was wreaking havoc on our second and third most populated islands.”
While addressing a room full of high-ranking law enforcement officers, emergency response personnel, among many representatives of government agencies, the prime minister acknowledged there were things that could have been done better.
But he said that is always the case during crisis.
“We have to acknowledge and to show gratitude for all of the good things that were done, and for all of the good people like yourselves who stepped up and did their work with determination and love of country and neighbor,” Minnis said.
“I am heartened by the number of international partners who praised the good and relatively quick response of the country in the face of Hurricane Dorian
“Some of this response was due in part to the work you did.”
According to the prime minister, history may no record all of the names of those who assisted or their individual efforts, it will tell of what was done collectively.
He added: “Because of people like you, one of our worst moments in our history brought out the better angels and the better spirits of the Bahamian people, including the good angels and spirits of all of you here today.”