Just as they did following the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the April 2008 boating tragedy, the local Haitian community is banding together once again to ensure that the 11 victims of last week’s boating tragedy get a decent burial.
Twenty-eight people were said to be on board the vessel “Glory Time” en route from Abaco to the United States when it capsized near Crown Haven, Abaco.
Only seven people are reported to have survived while 10 are still unaccounted for.
Pastors from the Haitian community held a news conference yesterday at the Rock of Ages Funeral Home to announce that they have come together ensure the victims are buried with dignity.
Pastor at Our Lady’s Catholic Church Fr. Alain Laverne said the Haitian community was devastated by the terrible incident.
“Our hearts really go out for the families of those people,” Fr. Laverne said.
“We are one body; we are one family. If one member suffers, all of us are suffering. So therefore it is really hard to see brothers and sisters perishing in such a tragic accident.”
So far, only 11 bodies have been found – six adults and five children and out of that number only four bodies have been identified.
Fr. Laverne said as leaders in the Haitian community, it is their obligation to ensure that victims have a proper burial.
“The family of the four victims that have been identified have agreed to have a common funeral. We do not have a date as yet, but we believe by next Saturday those people will be put in the ground.”
As for those seven unidentified bodies, Fr. Laverne believes their relatives may be hesitant to come forth because they are fearful of being arrested. Officers are still investigating the smuggling operation.
The cost to bury the 11 victims is an expensive venture, but it is one the leaders will take on themselves, with the assistance of the Haitian embassy and the community.
“We cannot disclose at this time because we have to report to the embassy and among us and the business leaders we will try to make sure that we have whatever the Rock of Ages charges for the funerals,” he said.
A venue has still not been determined.
However, the funeral for the 20 victims of the last Haitian boating tragedy back in 2008, was held at Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road.
Rock of Ages funeral home is partnering with the Haitian pastors to bury the victims.
President and CEO Kemuel Cox said the company has a commitment to the Haitian community to help in any way possible.
“A funeral service is a type of entity where we are called upon to help those who just can’t help themselves,” Mr. Cox said.
“We are committed to do that. So, we stand as a partner in this to be able to facilitate them to have the funeral.”
Officials anticipate having the funeral arrangements complete by the end of the week.