Marvin Dames turns on Duane Sands
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames has turned on his former cabinet colleague Dr. Duane Sands, calling recent comments by Sands “disingenuous”, “shocking” and “disappointing”.
Sands, the former Minister of Health, said in the House of Assembly that the Minnis Administration “squandered credibility” over Hurricane Dorian deaths.
Sands said the government started with a list of several thousand persons missing but they ended with a missing persons list controlled by the Royal Bahamas Police Force that included less names than the number of unidentified persons buried.
He said, to this day, it is unknown what caused thousands or hundreds of names to be excluded from the official list.
None of Sands’ former colleagues spoke up during his damning budget contribution but now days later, Marvin Dames has found his voice.
He said in a statement today, “the Ministry of National Security is shocked and profoundly disappointed by the recent comments about missing people by former Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands.”
“His recent remarks in the House are particularly surprising given that as the Minister of Health he played a leading role in the Government’s Hurricane Dorian response and restoration. He was afforded every opportunity to voice his concerns about the process and offer solutions to improve it,” Dames said.
“In light of the aforesaid, the Ministry finds the former Minister’s most recent comments disingenuous. His comments malign the good name and reputation of the hard working men and women in uniform, who continue to this day to make sacrifices to help those families affected by Dorian.”
Dames said that in an interview with the Miami Herald on Sunday, September 8, 2019, Dr. Sands called information suggesting a cover-up “false” and
“His recent comments are misleading, and whether intentionally or unintentionally, impinge the good standing efforts of our nation in the eyes of the international community and to reopen up old wounds of a people whose lives have been shattered as a result of this tragedy,” according to Dames.
What caused a list containing hundreds of names in the wake of Hurricane Dorian to be whittled down so significantly?
Dames offered this explanation:
”From the onset, it was a known fact that some people in search of missing relatives were making reports to agencies/organizations other than the police including the Department of Social Services, the Red Cross and NEMA,” he said.
“The Police immediately went to work to compile a centralized list which totaled 1,092 people from both Grand Bahama and Abaco. Of the total, 34 were from Grand Bahama and 1,058 were from Abaco.”
“After the Police took receipt of the initial list and began their reconciliation work, they discovered that the list consisted not only of missing persons but also persons in need of housing assistance, persons reporting other crimes, persons who were displaced, and duplication of names. The number of persons falling within these categories totaled 813. The Police missing persons list currently stands at 279,” according to the statement.
Dames said as the reconciliation process continues these numbers are expected to fluctuate.
Who do you believe? Marvin Dames or Dr. Duane Sands?