Georgetown, Guyana – (September 16, 2019) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, last evening, assured that the Government is working to have approximately 23 Guyanese on hurricane ravage island, The Bahamas, back on home soil.
Minister Felix made this commitment moments after he along with Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings and Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, welcomed back home a family of five.
Mr. Orin and Mrs. Sholme Grimmond and their children, Seraphine, age 7; Angeline, age 2 and two-month-old Kemuel arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri just before 22:00 hours. The husband and wife, who are both teachers at the Long Bag Adventist School on Abaco Island, and their children left Nassau just before 15:00 hours and travelled first to Jamaica and then to Trinidad and Tobago before they landed in Guyana.
Minister Felix said that in the coming days the Government will finalize arrangements for the other Guyanese to return home.
“We dealt with this first five, this family, and we anticipate there are others. We do not leave Guyanese in distress, who are outside of Guyana. We do not do that. We showed that in 2017 and it continues now,” he assured.
The Minister said there are indications that about 23 persons are interested in returning to Guyana, as such certain logistical matters will have to be resolved to facilitate this.
“Those arrangements have to be properly organised and then we [will] know how they are coming, but these are issues under consideration now,” he explained.
Mr. Grimmond said he was happy to be back on home soil after the “horrifying” experience. “It’s my country after all. I know, despite where we go Guyana will not refuse its citizens out there…My first choice is to return home where my family is,” he said.
Mr. Grimmond recalled that his family first sought refuge in the ceiling of their Marsha Habour home as the hurricane passed though the island.
“The water was rising…It was terrifying because there is no way to escape…And so what we did, we kicked the door out,” he said, adding that it was a miracle that he and his family survived.
While he has no plans to return to the island to work, Mr. Grimmond said they will probably return to visit the friends and family, who are still there.
Hurricane Dorian, a category five storm, pummelled the Abaco Island and Grand Bahama during over three-day-period, leaving at least 43 people dead and hundreds missing. It also left behind enormous infrastructural damage across the island.
There are about 80 Guyanese families living on the affected islands. The Government, through the CDC, is coordinating relief efforts for Guyanese living there.