Categorized | National News

Ingraham: ‘Death Toll in the Hundreds’ – Former PM Clarifies Mandatory Evacuation

In Abaco alone, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the death toll from Hurricane Dorian is in the hundreds, although the government announced that the death toll stands at 50.

Mr. Ingraham revealed the high death toll yesterday during a press conference following his trip to Abaco to assess the damages left by the hurricane.

While sharing his sentiments on mandatory evacuations and clarifying what the proposed legislation will mean, Ingraham said The Bahamas is not accustomed to having substantial deaths from hurricanes.

However, mandatory evacuations can save lives. 

“Let us get something straight, all mandatory evacuation means that the government says you must move.   If you do not move, at a certain point in time, we are not going to come and collect you.  But we can’t make you move,” Mr. Ingraham said. 

“How can the government pass a law that says, ‘If you don’t come, I am going to arrest you, handcuff you and carry you where, to a shelter and have the police watch you or take you to Fox Hill Prison?’

“So mandatory evacuation means the government can say move, we urge you to move, if you don’t move, we won’t be able to come and get you after a certain time.”   

He further noted that the notion that persons will be forcibly removed from their homes is not going to happen.

“To be more proactive in reaching out to people and getting them to move, I think the Abaco experience will oblige people to know that their lives will be at risk in certain types of hurricanes,” Mr. Ingraham said. 

“I think that is going to be another big step forward in people being given more effective responses.” 

Mr. Ingraham added, “Of course the government has tremendous influence and authority without the use of force just by virtue of being the government. So the government can maximize the number of people who evacuate from a place.”   

Attorney General Carl Bethel told reporters that the legislation allowing for mandatory evacuations would be brought to the parliament in October.

Mr. Ingraham insisted that persons, when asked to evacuate, must have safe places to evacuate to.

“For instance, take Marsh Harbour, take Abaco, there were no safe places to evacuate them to, other than the government clinic and the government administrative building,” he said. 

“There were no other safe places to evacuate them to and they took advantage of those two buildings.  They maximized the space in them.  They came in there by the thousands and what not, but where else were you going to put them.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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