Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday there have been no challenges with the identification of victims of Hurricane Dorian on Abaco, noting that the matter will be resolved “in short order”.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the government experienced challenges identifying victims of Dorian on the island.
The Guardian was told that DNA samples were sent to U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about four times following a failure to properly identify the race, age or sex of the victims.
However, Dames told The Guardian yesterday, “We don’t have any challenges. I mean, these bodies are containerized. They’re in coolers. Everything that we’re doing is consistent with international standards.”
He said the government wants to ensure that it has “exhausted any other decisions in relation to those bodies”.
“They’re not going anywhere,” Dames said.
“They’re not decomposing, contrary to what people are saying, because from day one, once a body was found, [it] was placed in containerized containers consistent with international standards.”
He said the government is “not going to rush this process” of identifying the victims.
“We are very cognizant of the respect to the families of these persons who are missing and these bodies that have been recovered,” the minister said.
“We’re very, very cognizant of that and all of the respective agencies are working hand and hand. We just had a meeting, discussion about this yesterday working hand and hand to bring this to a resolution, a respectful one.”
Dames added, “We should bring a resolution to those bodies that are currently containerized in short order.”
Dorian tore through Abaco and Grand Bahama more than five months ago, impacting nearly 30,000 people and killing at least 70 — most of whom were on Abaco.
Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday that 50 on Abaco had not yet been identified.
He was unable to say how many bodies were unclaimed on the island.
On January 19, the Ministry of Health said there were 51 bodies being stored in the refrigerated trailer near the clinic in Marsh Harbour.