As police officials begin to identify persons who lost their lives in Hurricane Dorian in early September and families finally getting closure some two months later, relatives and friends of seven of those individuals will gather for a candlelight memorial this Sunday, November 10 in High Rock.
George Laing, Clarence Jones, Monique Munnings, Howard Bevans, Henilee Mackey, Roswell Pinder and Sybil Pinder, all of East End, Grand Bahama were officially reported missing days following Hurricane Dorian’s devastating landfall.
Local and international law enforcement teams, together with volunteers, carried out search and recovery missions daily to locate the missing residents. While there were reports of some human remains being found, there are others that are still not accounted for.
However, this weekend family members of the seven will begin their process of closing in the service, which is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. on the Government Park, High Rock.
The service will be coordinated by senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rev. Pedyson Baillou, who sought to bring closure to the family members of the deceased.
Sharing details of the upcoming service on Tuesday, November 5, Baillou explained, the ceremony will honour seven residents followed by the lighting of significant candles.
“Having gone through the trauma of the hurricane and what the devastation has done to the East End of Grand Bahama, I saw it fitting to have a memorial service for some of the victims; some of them are family members, neighbours and members of the community,” said an emotional Baillou, who is also an East End native.
“The service will be in the form of a Thanksgiving to God and a service of renewed commitment, dedication and love to the families who have consented to be a part of the event.
“Others have opted out for a number of reasons, but those who have consented we want to show our love and appreciation to them on behalf of the East End community,” said the coordinator.
“We are expected to share in the time of grieving and the recovery of those who are alive. There is still a light at the end of the tunnel and we realize the Lord gives and the Lord takes, and we cannot do anything about that. So, our best foot forward is just to bring the rest of the community together from East End to Sweeting’s Cay, to bind ourselves together and love each other,” he added.
Baillou noted the event is open to the public, as they are able to partake in the paying of homage to their loved ones.
“We are expecting Pastor Glenn Russell to be in attendance, pastors of the (Grand Bahama) Christian Council, with the other pastors from East End Grand Bahama and government officials to be a part of this coming together.
“We cannot bring anybody back,” he said tearfully, “but they are missing and some families are hoping they would see them again but we cannot hold back their time and effort. This hurricane has touched the lives of many that lost their home in Grand Bahama and in Abaco, lost their belongings, lost everything; but we say God is in control and therefore, we look forward to this.
“We want to say thanks to all who will be participating in the event, especially executives of Equinor (Statoil), who consented to taking care of the repast following the event. We expect to light up seven candles for the families and have words of sympathy from various pastors.
“Pastor Glenn will give the final words, then we will pray for the families.”
Baillou continued, “We want to thank all those who came forward and we will continue to pray for the best for East End, Grand Bahama and the best for the country.
“We look forward to the public coming to be a part of this at the Government Park in High Rock at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. We want to begin on time, because we know the evening is dark and there are still no traffic lights, so we want everyone on time,” said Baillou.