Bahamas Striping Group of Companies’ (BSGC) subsidiary CPS, specializing in heavy duty cleanup, maintenance and pavement preservation, which was hired to carry out debris cleanup on Abaco, has put 42 Abaconians back to work and is leading the charge in clearing bodies with dignity and what remains of homes in The Mudd.
In a statement sent to the press yesterday, the company said it has unearthed The Mudd’s “share of secrets”, while sorting and discarding tons of white waste (fridge and stoves), e-waste (electronics and digital devices), green waste (trees) and construction debris.
“More importantly, they have also retrieved two bodies and at least one firearm,” the statement revealed.
The statement explained that BSGC is already halfway through its three-month cleanup contract with the government.
BSGC Managing Director Dr. Allen Albury said the company did not want to carry out a rush job on the site of The Mudd, given the extent of the damage to property and the loss of life that was experienced there.
“We wanted to ensure that the work we were carrying out was not just a rushed process, but one that allowed us to meticulously and carefully sort through the debris and ensure that we were not just bulldozing and carrying away what might be human remains,” he said.
“Everything discovered is handled with dignity. A protocol was established from the very beginning as to what would be the steps taken if there were any significant discoveries on the site.”
CPS Project Manager Peter Bascom said The Mudd presented logistical challenges for the company that had to be overcome.
“There is a layer of mud that sits underneath the ground. Residents of The Mudd placed fill dirt on top of that to build. There is a way to reclaim land and this is not done properly,” said Bascom.
“When we first came, we brought a lot of big, heavy equipment like the D8 and the 345 excavators. Those machines were too heavy for this geotechnical environment. We had to change course, bring smaller machines and send them ahead to conduct explorations. If we were to just drive over it, the machines would fall in. That was a lesson we learned the hard way. We had a D8 tractor stuck for three days.”
Leonard Minns, who had been searching for a job on New Providence since the hurricane passed, was hired by CPS to become a dump truck operator.
He fled Abaco before Hurricane Dorian hit, according to a CPS statement. His home was destroyed.
“Driving in from the airport I couldn’t believe my eyes. Abaco, my home, was gone. It made me cry a little,” said Minns.
“Working with CPS this past week has made me feel as if I’m part of the solution,” he added.
“It makes me feel proud, like we’re achieving something.”
CPS has had to provide everything on Abaco for its team and has rented Reverend Silbert Mills’ Friendship Tabernacle Church in Central Pines, where it placed a new generator, additional air conditioning units, 42 airbeds, washers and dryers, showers with hot and cold running water, laptops, two pool tables and a 40-inch flat screen TV.
The cooking for the men is being done by the mother of BSGC owner Atario Mitchell, who is an Abaco native.
“We tried to make it as comfortable as possible for the staff,” said Mitchell.
“We wanted them to have a place where they could relax and ease their minds a bit after a hard day at work.”