A Hurricane Dorian Remembrance Ceremony was held at the Sir Jack Hayward Bridge one year after the storm ravaged the shores of Grand Bahama and Abaco. Memorial services were held in areas where lives were either lost or people are still missing due to the storm surge brought in by the Category 5 storm. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest who is also the Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, said Grand Bahama is no stranger to storms, but even with all of the experience, Dorian brought new challenges and realities to everyone as destruction to property and the loss of lives was witnessed.
“We thought it fitting to come and mark this solemn day to let you, the families know, as well as the wider island of Grand Bahama and indeed the rest of The Bahamas, that we have not lost sight of the terrible tragedy that would have befallen your loved ones.”
He said the representatives of Grand Bahama and the community leaders have not forgotten that day that changed their lives forever. It is also “a celebration of community that has sprung up following Hurricane Dorian. I am so impressed with how neighbour has been looking after neighbour in the chat groups and in the community in various groupings. That spirit will help us through this and ensure that we rebuild stronger and more resilient than we ever were before taking the lessons from this last experience, picking ourselves up and moving forward.”
He offered prayers and support to all those who lost loved ones and said he and his family remembers every day. Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, was among those addressing the small gathering. “One year ago, the very spot that we are standing on had about 20 feet of water. A year ago, we would have all been under water in this very same spot.
“But today, is a beautiful day. And so today is a day of thanksgiving. It is fitting that we come together one year later to commemorate what took place and remember the lives that were lost. But let us not commemorate this without thanksgiving, because we are thankful for where the Lord has brought us from one year ago.” Minister Thompson added that there is much to be thankful for: the lives of those who survived, for the rebuilding that is taking place and the restoration of the island.
Also bringing brief remarks was president of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Ian Rolle who said the ceremony was to honour those who lost their lives, homes and businesses one year ago, but it was also a time to acknowledge the generosity of many individuals and organizations, both locally and internationally, for their assistance of many family and communities. Also present were Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Michael Pintard; Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Iram Lewis and Senator Jasmine Darius.
Giving the opening prayer was Pastor Philip Munroe; Archdeacon Hepburn blessed the wreath and offered prayers for the departed and missing; while Bishop Cardinal McIntosh prayed for the families and survivors. The closing prayer was offered by President of the Grand Bahama Christian Council, Pastor Lockhart. Following the service at the Bridge, the group attended services in McLean’s Town and High Rock.