In the aftermath of Joaquin’s devastation and the failed government response prior, during and after the storm, our elected officials are not only showing their lack of honour and integrity, but also a shameless lack of conscience. People and their children were forced to escape for their lives into their ceilings and cars for over a day because there were no shelters open for them to go to. Have you ever looked at the ceiling of where you live? Ever been up in there? Imagine spending at-least 20 hours in there terrified because if the water rises any higher, you and your children will drown right up in that ceiling.
People were not able to safely protect life and property because by the time they knew what was going on, weather conditions made such attempts at precautions unsafe. If a structure’s windows and doors are properly secured before a hurricane, it can increase the chance of preventing roofs from being blown off the structures or being otherwise compromised. But with no appreciable advanced notice, how many would have had time or immediate on-island resources to safely carry out such measures?
Satellite phones that all island officials ought to have had were inoperable or officials did not know each other’s numbers. People were unable to communicate with persons on their island or outside their island for as much as a week during and after the storm. People were forced to swim from settlement to settlement in a desperate quest for survival. No shelters available to go to. And those are just some of the horrors. We have not heard anywhere near the half of them all. I can personally attest with evidence to what I speak of regarding the communications failures as well as some of the harrowing rescue attempts being carried out during the height of Category 4 conditions in the Central and Southeast Bahamas of persons trapped or hunkered in homes that were crumbling and being ripped apart around and on top of them.
And with all this and more, government officials still refuse to acknowledge any failings or wrongdoings. You cannot fix what you refuse to acknowledge. They are showing so much contempt for the nation that they do not even feel the need to offer standard fake political apologies anymore. This is sick, and so are all those who in the aftermath of human suffering are only primarily concerned about their personal reputations, their job security and their political standing and security. If the government did as good a job racing to save their own hides as they could have in doing all that should and could have been done for Bahamians in this storm, the personal outcomes and horrors for many people could have been very, very different. Claiming no reported storm deaths is one thing – but what you do have are thousands of people who are alive and living victims – victims not only of Joaquin, but of a government that failed them in the most basic of its responsibilities to them.