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Unidentified Bodies to be Buried

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the unidentified bodies of victims who perished during Hurricane Dorian will be given a Christian burial.

Nearly six months after Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco and Grand Bahama, Dr. Sands said yesterday that there are no DNA matches for the unidentified bodies of storm victims.

Earlier this month, Dr. Duane Sands said 50 bodies on Abaco had not yet been identified. 

“As we have said, they will be given Christian burial rights once we have identified the plot of land.  Each set of remains will be entered in an individual plot, which will be indexed so if there are appropriate matches to DNA or identification, then family members would have the ability to get closure,” he said.  

“As of today, I’m advised that there has been no match of DNA with any of the remains to any individual who has come forward.”

Dr. Sands said during this process of identification, he is mindful of the victim’s family members, whom he believes are victims as well.

When asked to respond to criticisms leveled at his ministry for the process of identification, Dr. Sands said, “As a cabinet minister I represent the government of The Bahamas. At no time, does the management of the remains lie solely with me or my ministry. That said, having been chosen to be an elected member of parliament, having agreed to be a Cabinet minister, we take the criticism whether it is appropriate or not.  

“I can assure you that at every single step of the way, we have sought to do what is right, what is just and what is humane.”

Last week, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the government accepts the criticisms from individuals who believe the government is moving too slowly to identify the bodies of victims of Hurricane Dorian.

Dames said the government continues to work with Social Services, the Ministry of Health, the Red Cross Society, the Attorney General’s Office and external agencies to assist with the process.

He added that most of the bodies in Grand Bahama have been identified and released.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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