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King: RBDF has high presence on GB, Abaco

There is an “extremely high” presence of Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) officers on Abaco and Grand Bahama nearly five months after Hurricane Dorian, according to Acting RBDF Commodore Dr. Raymond King.

“On average, we’ve been keeping a number of 100 officers on Abaco and about 50 in Grand Bahama,” King told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.

“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.

“So, our numbers have been extremely high if I were to count the persons who are assigned to the ships as well.”

Dorian tore through Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September, killing at least 70 people and displacing thousands.

The Category 5 storm uprooted key infrastructure on both islands, particularly in East End, Grand Bahama, and Marsh Harbour, Abaco.

Asked yesterday about the challenges RBDF has encountered on the ground, King replied, “At this moment, I really can’t articulate any challenge. I know the challenges that they would’ve faced prior to me returning to the defense force from my role as port controller.

“And so, in terms of them being able to stage themselves, having the various necessities, lodging [and] everything that they need.

“They have it now and persons are a lot more comfortable in terms of their time spent in Abaco as opposed to what they would’ve faced in the immediate aftermath of Dorian’s passing where you would’ve [gone] into an area that was damaged, disaster-prone and having to live and work in undesirable conditions. But those are conditions that we’ve been trained to adapt to in the aftermath of any storm.”

King was appointed acting commodore a little over a month after Dorian’s passage.

His appointment came after RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel was sent on a three-month leave.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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