NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister yesterday called a video showing decomposed remains found at a cleanup site in Abaco “disgusting”.
Bannister warned anyone with cleanup contracts found to have recorded or circulated the videos will be terminated.
One of the videos circulated on social media show a person walking up to the human remains and poking it, while someone in an orange safety vest watches from afar.
It is unclear who shot and circulated the video.
“It is disgusting,” Bannister said, when reached for comment.
“I saw one of those videos where human remains were exposed.
“One of the things that’s very important to us is that we maintain the dignity of every person.
“These people have lost their lives in the most powerful way.
“And quite frankly, I’ve indicated to my colleagues that if I find anyone who’s contracted to the ministry, who’s releasing this information, we will terminate their contract, because that is not something that we can support.”
The government signed contracts with four contractors for the cleanup of the shantytowns in Abaco on September 27.
These included Caribbean Pavement Solutions (The Mudd), Bill Simmons Construction (Pigeon Peas), J and J Pavers (Sand Bank) and Big Cat Equipment (Farm Road).
The project timeline for each contractor was three months.
Asked about a nondisclosure clause included in those contracts, Bannister said, “The contract tells them how to carry out the work they’ve been doing, and they’ve been briefed on the manner in which we are to treat bodies, how we are to treat the remains.
“These are the remains of human beings and so it would be a breach if we are able to show that a specific contractor has done this.
“We will not allow this to go on.”
The Category 5 storm barreled into Grand Bahama and Abaco on September 1 -3, leaving thousands displaced and hundreds missing.
The Mudd, the Pigeon Peas and portions of the Sandbanks were leveled.
The official death count stands at 67, but authorities have said that that is expected to rise.