BRIAN SEYMOUR WRITES FROM FREEPORT ABOUT A LONG AGO ABACO STORM

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viagra there times;”>brian_seymoreTHE BLUFF POINT- ABACO STORY

discount cialis site times;”>On September 6, viagra 1932, the island of Abaco was rocked by a Category Five hurricane.  This hurricane has come to be known as the GREAT ABACO HURRICANE.  This storm had wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour.  When it was over, reports are that 16 people perished, and 300 injured.  According to records, two historic churches were destroyed and their 3-feet thick walls were reduced to rubble.  Records, further, indicate that people had to crawl from house to house to safety.  According to the National Hurricane Center data, Abaco can expect to be hit with a hurricane every 1.67 years.

The account of Bluff Point, Abaco was related to me by a member of the Swain family whose father told his son of the tragic experience at Bluff Point.  Bluff Point once was a thriving sponging and fishing coastal settlement.  The settlement disappeared after the passage of the devastating hurricane of the 1930’s.  On one side of the bluff was deep water which accommodated large vessels; on the other side, there was a cove with marshes and swamp which served as safe harbor for the settlement sloops.  This was ideal for the village because the large boats could come in and collect the sponge and trade.  Bluff Point was settled by the Swain, Mitchell, Curry, Wilmore, Davis, Simms, Reckley and Williams’ families.  These families on the coast line were cut off from the rest of Abaco during the great storm and were vulnerable to deadly storm surge which eventually destroyed the settlement.

The colonial government, after this catastrophe, and loss of life and injury, move these families in land to what is now known as Murphy Town.  The government built each family a two-room house and deeded the five-acre tract to each family for a paltry sum of 2 – 5 pounds sterling.  The decision back then was a good one done in the national interest to preserve life and property.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquim, and knowing what we now know, in relation to climate change and global warning sea level rises and intensity of tropical cyclones should the government in the National interest for the benefit of its citizens relocate the coastal towns in the Central and Southern Bahamas that have been severely impacted by Joaquim?  The photos of the infrastructural damage inclusive of the roads, utilities, and government buildings tell the story.  Some of the Islands were already sparsely populated and dying.  Should we not use this as an opportunity to relocate from the shorelines to a more suitable area to preserve life and property in the National interest?

The government of the Bahamas has two choices:  it can repair the homes where they now exist and preserve the status quo and pray that we are not affected by storm or climate change; or, develop a new area where it is more suitable against the ravages of storm surge.   Out of this devastation should come new opportunities for the regeneration of the Central and Southern Bahamas.

The islands of Acklins, Crooked Island, Ragged Island, and Mayaguana need only one centralized settlement on each island that will support its local population and the existing government services.  If anyone chooses to live outside the centralized areas, it should not be expected that the government will provide the every- day amenities.

If we attempt to replace the present infrastructure where it now exists would be an investment in folly.  For the Christie administration how they approach restoration of the Central and Southern Bahamas is this government’s defining moment.  As with the Bluff Point experience, it is now prudent to make the tough decisions in the best interest of many.  Let it not be said of this government that it cowers from its responsibilities when faced with hard, and difficult, and prudent decisions.

For the human family, we are reminded that a man’s life is more than the abundance of things that he possesses.  For everything belongs to God and is God’s alone.

Brian Seymour