Georgetown, Guyana – (September 30, 2019) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, on Sunday night, informed that only three Guyanese families decided to return here from the hurricane ravaged island, The Bahamas.
The Minister and a representative from the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) travelled to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri to welcome home Mr. Cecil and Mrs. Olive Simon.
The Simons were the third batch of persons to return home after the island was ravaged by the Category Five hurricane. This brings the total to 12 persons who opted to return home.
Minister Felix said initially, 28 persons had indicated an interest in returning; however, the majority have since decided to remain on the island.
“By the time we started to make arrangements, we were able to confirm that 12 really wanted to return…Others who are interested in coming may have to do so on their own steam because this marks the culminating point of Government’s intervention to return Guyanese home. It cannot be an open-ended arrangement,” he said.
On Sunday, September 22 Guyanese Ms. Vanessa Tate, her Bahamian husband, Mr. Stevie Cooper and their three children, Stevie Jr., age 5; Steven, age 3 and 3-month-old Steve arrived on a Caribbean Airlines flight. Mr. Orin and Mrs. Sholme Grimmond and their children, Seraphine, age 7; Angeline, age 2 and two-month-old Kemuel arrived on Sunday, September 15.
Minister Felix stressed that the Guyanese survivors were given every opportunity to decide if they wanted to return.
“We … took time to ensure that the word got around to all the persons in distress and they were given an opportunity to decide whether or not they’re willing to return. Those who have returned are the ones [whom] we were sure were willing to be removed…The others apparently, have found some way to make out while the situation in The Bahamas is normalised,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Simons, who were overjoyed to be back, thanked the Government for assisting them to get home.
“I think what is commendable is that the Guyana Government did really play its part irrespective of the criticisms and all of that, Government played its part. You have the Guyana Bahamas Association, everybody came together…it’s good to see Minister Felix and a member of the CDC. I think they played a very good role in making this possible. Without them, it would not have been possible,” Mr. Simon said.
He also said that following the disaster everyone, regardless of their social status, was reduced to the same level.
“It is an experience whereby it teaches us that material things don’t matter at all. We come into this world with nothing. We leave with nothing so irrespective of what we had; the loss is nothing compared to the fact that we have life…I always use to tell myself that Bahamas, as far as the building codes are concerned, they are second to none …that Category Five hurricane is something totally unprecedented. We didn’t bargain for that but it happened,” he explained.