Bahamian Opposition Leader Wants Commission Of Inquiry In Missing People

NASSAU, Bahamas – The leader of the main opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Philip Brave Davis, has called for a commission of inquiry into events surrounding the passage of Hurricane Dorian last September after the government said it was “shocked and profoundly disappointed” by the recent comments of former Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands about people still missing as a result of the storm.

Davis, who claimed that the government’s figures were ‘all over the place” said the Hubert Minnis administration had “botched up” its handling of the storm’s aftermath.

In a statement, the Ministry of National Security said that Sands recent statements in the Parliament were “particularly surprising given that as the Minister of Health he played a leading role in the Government’s Hurricane Dorian’s response and restoration.

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“He was afforded every opportunity to voice his concerns about the process and offer solutions to improve it,” the statement noted.

Last Thursday, Sands told legislators the government had mishandled the identification of those persons still missing and others killed during the Category 5 storm that passed through the archipelago on September 1.

Sands acknowledged that no explanation has been given on how hundreds of names were excluded from an early list of people reported missing noting responsibility was spread over multiple ministries and government agencies.

In May, Sands resigned from the government due to the controversy surrounding permanent residents allowed entry to the country from a plane carrying COVID-19 test swabs.

National Security Minister, Marvin Dames, said the number of people recorded as missing as a result of the hurricane is 279.

However, Assistant Commissioner of Police Solomon Cash told reporters that only 33 people were still listed as missing.

The remains of 55 unidentified storm victims were buried in Abaco on May 22.

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