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Abaco Chamber director claims crime still a major issue on the island

Abaco Chamber of Commerce Director Krista Albury claimed yesterday that Abaco remains plagued by theft and burglaries as residents try to recover from Hurricane Dorian.

Albury said little has changed since the immediate aftermath of the storm and said rebuilding efforts are being hampered by frequent break-ins.

“One of the major letdowns I would say over the past year has been the lack of security and overall law and order over the island,” she said.

“We’re still seeing surges of theft and breaking into homes and businesses as people try to recover, which has been a massive challenge to Abaco and our restoration efforts. My house got broken into three times in a month and a half.

“So, there is little control over here when it comes to ensuring people’s possessions or that their homes are secure. And that’s been a major challenge.”

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, many complained of looting on the island. Government officials repeatedly denied those reports.

When pressed last month over the claims of continued issues with crime on Abaco and a lack of law enforcement officials, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the government “never turned our backs on Abaco”. He said he was not aware of “a diminished number of human resources from the police standpoint”.

The Nassau Guardian reached out to Police Commissioner Paul Rolle yesterday about Albury’s claims, but he said he would not speak behind Dames.

The daily crime reports from the northern police division only included one reported incident from Abaco in August – a man who was caught with marijuana. 

Albury, however, claimed that the situation has not improved since last year.

“The big concern is just security, law and order over here,” she said.

“It’s out of control.

“We’re seeing break-ins on every cay. The major settlements…they’re all seeing frequent break-ins. Some people have gotten broken into multiple times.

“They’re trying to break into homes that have people living in them, people who are working trying to get their homes back.

“They’re doing lots of damage in the process to people who have tried to restore their homes. They ripped the wire out the wall of my house. After they stole the generator, they came back to the wire to hook it up. So, that’s what’s going on. So, you’re feeling like you’re three steps forward and someone is sending you five steps back.”

Albury said the theft is setting back the progress of those trying to repair their homes.

“I could be wrong, but I don’t think you can insure building supplies,” she said.

“So, if you put out several thousand dollars for flooring or shingles or plywood and then someone comes through and steals half of that, that’s just money you have to put out to replace that, plus shipping times and availability of building supplies on the island.

“So, we’re just not seeing that security, which has been a concern since September 1 last year. And it still hasn’t been addressed. The same looting, the same stealing is going on.

“But we’re still trying. Every day we’re still pushing.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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