Journal Staff Writer
Four years ago, the tragic natural disaster of Hurricane Dorian swept through The Bahamas
and left devastating effects on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. A wreath laying
ceremony was held in both islands on September 1 to commemorate those who lost their lives
during the tragic storm.
Prime Minister Philip Davis gave remarks commemorating those fallen four years ago and
testified that Abaconians’ courage and resilience was also on display despite still recovering
physically, mentally and emotionally.
“The 1 st of September 2019 is a day that will be forever etched in our hearts. Four years
removed from that terrible day, we still mourn the family, friends, and colleagues who are no
longer with us. I stand with you in honouring and preserving their legacies. The memory of
their bravery, love, and sacrifices will live on through us. Today, is a day to cherish their
memories and uplift one another even as we mourn. Grief is such a heavy burden to bear, and
it is only made bearable by the love and support we extend to one another,” the prime
minister said to the audience in Hope Town, Abaco.
“The anniversary of Hurricane Dorian will always bring with it a surge of emotions, re-
awakening the pain that we felt so deeply. To those of you who lost family members, friends,
classmates, and colleagues, I wish to express my deepest sympathies. I know that today is
very difficult for you. I stand with you in honouring and preserving their memory. Among the
most significant ways we can honour the memories of our loved ones is by providing the
support necessary for Abaco to thrive. We will do this by continuing to bring in investments
and develop opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and homeownership.”
The prime minister elaborated on efforts his administration is making to bring Abaco back to
what it was pre-Dorian, despite the scars still being evident on the Family Island’s landscape.
Prime Minister Davis, once again, acknowledged the role that climate change plays in
“exacerbating” natural disasters, allowing for tragic events like Hurricane Dorian, a
commonality shared with other Caribbean countries.
“Caribbean find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of ruin and repair. This highlights the
need to invest in protective measures, like the Abaco Sea Wall, completed earlier this year,
and the Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre, which promises to serve as a
welcome harbour for residents in both serene and stormy times. We must prioritize and
expedite the development of climate-resilient infrastructure,” the prime minister continued.
“In Hope Town, we have seen the debris amassed in the wake of Dorian finally cleared away.
This is a very welcome sight and there is more work underway. Through it all, Hope Town
continues to live up to its name.”
He acknowledges that work is ongoing.
“The government must continue to play its part in promoting growth in Abaco. We all know
what Abaconians are capable of. We’ve seen it before Dorian, we see it with the recovery to
date, and I honestly believe the best days of Abaco are ahead of us. There has been
understandable frustration spilling over from the government’s response in 2019 and
continuing into 2023, where there is still more vital work that needs to be done,” Prime
Minister Davis said.
“We know that we can do more because Abaco deserves more and building a stronger Abaco
is the most powerful way we can honour the memories of those who are no longer with us.
Together, we can come out of any storm – even a super storm like Hurricane Dorian
–stronger than before. As we remember and mourn our loved ones – as we smile at the good
days and find the resolve to keep striving during the difficult moments – let’s find strength in
unity and hope in collaboration. There is no way we can ever fully heal the loss of those who
were taken away from us on that tragic day. But there is solace that can be found in moving
A press statement by Chairman of the Free National Movement (FNM) Duane Sands was
released where he commemorated the lives lost back in September 2019, and described the
Category 5 hurricane as an “unprecedented, apocalyptic destruction.”
He mentioned the financial impact the hurricane had on The Bahamas – believing it to be
more than $3 billion and commented that this figure could in no way account for the
“suffering, trauma or turmoil,” while professing that we may never truly know how many
lives were lost on that tragic day.
FNM Chairman Sands encouraged Bahamians to be grateful for the “grace and mercy
shown” so far as the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season reaches its halfway point.