Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Ken Hutton said yesterday there are still cases of looting on the island as security is still a “significant issue” on Abaco nearly five months after Hurricane Dorian.
“Security continues to be a significant issue here,” Hutton told The Nassau Guardian.
He added, “There still is definitely looting going on, significant amounts of it. There’s still — in terms of the domestic ports — there’s still very little security there… So, no, the security situation is very tenuous here at best.”
When reached for comment, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Ismella Davis-Delancy said she was not aware of any reports of looting on the island.
She advised Abaconians to file a report with a local police station so the claims can be investigated.
Abaco was ravaged by Dorian in early September.
The Category 5 storm led thousands of Abaconians to flee the island in the days that followed.
Reports of looting began to surface on the island not long after Dorian.
On September 5, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames dismissed the claims as “grossly overstated”.
One month later, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told The Guardian that he was “not happy” about the security situation on the island, noting there was a need for more law enforcement on Abaco.
However, nearly four months after Minnis’ comments, Hutton said there needs to be “a larger security presence” on Abaco.
“There needs to be more visible security in Abaco,” he said yesterday.
“There needs to be more arrests. There needs to be more visible displays of force.”
He said residents are not reassured by local police.
Earlier this month, Dames noted that roughly 100 police officers are being rotated monthly on Abaco.
On January 20, Acting Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Dr. Raymond King said there is an “extremely high” presence of defence force officers on the island.
“On average, we’ve been keeping a number of 100 officers on Abaco and about 50 in Grand Bahama,” he said.
“And those numbers exclude the ships because we’ve been maneuvering our ships in and out between Grand Bahama and Abaco for transportation of supplies, particularly building materials on behalf of other government departments.”