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Sands revelations: crisis of conscience or something else?

It has to be asked whether former Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands’ scathing assessment of the Minnis Administration’s handling of the Hurricane Dorian Deaths and Missing Persons Registry is a matter of conscience or something more… Sands as the country’s health chief up to his resignation in May was involved in that process at the highest level and would have known the facts - or at the very least some of the facts - of what he revealed in Parliament before resigning, yet he did not address these concerns then and as such is complicit in the government’s ‘hoodwinking’ of its citizens.

Yes, he is revealing it now… but why? As a member of the Cabinet, he was duty-bound to not speak out against governmental affairs. This is true. If he really cared about the lives lost and the lives left behind to grieve though, he could have resigned months ago. He did not. He could have publicly made these revelations when he publicly resigned in May. He didn’t then either. So why now?

In his contribution to the 2020/2021 budget debate, Dr. Duane Sands confirmed that the names of thousands of missing persons were recorded by Social Services in the immediate aftermath of the deadly Hurricane Dorian, and that some how, some way, the great majority of those names simply vanished from that registry. He noted that this ‘pruning’ of names was done without explanation and a public apology, among other things, by the government should be made for “getting it wrong the first time.”

Dr. Sands should go first then and make a heartfelt apology to the families of those victims - those known to be dead and those whose fate may likely never be known.

He also insisted in the House debate that the public deserves to know about the DNA sampling from the remains of 55 people who were recently buried… unidentified and unclaimed. He not only puts a spotlight on the Minnis Administration’s apparent cover up, he possibly admitted that he lied in interviews he gave concerning those remains and the DNA process. Sands is quoted back in February as saying that DNA taken from the family members of people who were noted as missing did not match any of the unclaimed bodies.

In a recent interview with veteran journalist Sharon Turner, Sands alluded to a - let’s call it a difference of opinion - with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis regarding his resignation. Since he resigned, he has received an outpouring of support from the public and from some of his colleagues. Sands also initially stood with Minnis rival Loretta Butler Turner in her opposition to him as Leader of the Free National Movement. So it has to be asked - were his revelations a matter of conscience, or something else?

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