GBCC president says it’s important for storm victims to talk about their experiences

REV. DR. ROBERT LOCKHART, Grand Bahama Christian Council, President

Bahama Christian Council (GBCC), Rev. Robert Lockhart encouraged residents, who were adversely affected by Hurricane Dorian to talk about their experiences.  

While many endured the unimaginable during and after the passing of the deadly storm, Rev. Lockhart said Thursday (October 10), in an interview, that is it very important for those who experienced such devastation especially those who experienced it directly, to seek counseling and talk about their experiences. 

“First of all, let me say that for most of us as Bahamians, this has been a time for us to show tremendous faith and confidence in God, that He is going to bring us out and bring us through. I think that many Bahamians have been pulling on that and leaning on that. I want to encourage them to continue to do that.

 “Secondly, we need to talk about it - families, husbands, wives, people at church - coming together and talking about our experiences, what is was like for them, all of the emotions that they felt. All of that is a part of the healing process and that is important for us, to hear each other’s stories,” said the GBCC president. 

“I remember coming from the church on the first Sunday after the hurricane and having people share their stories and I realized, I did not know that they went through that. They are sitting there in the front of me and I did not know that is what they went through and so, it helped me to be more sympathetic, understanding and also let me know that that person needs my support; to let them know that they are not alone.  

“The amazing thing is that we went through it together and so, that is good. It helps us to remember that we are not alone; we went through it together and so we must continue to help each other along the way,” he noted. 

Questioned about suggestions for what persons should do if they feel there is no-where to turn or believe that they do not have the support of a listening ear, Rev. Lockhart responded, “They need to talk with their pastors, that is what pastors are there for. Counselors, relatives or a close friend; someone that they can talk to, because they need to get it out. 

“Sometimes you do not really get in touch with your emotions until you begin to talk, especially for those persons who had near death experiences; those who thought that they were not going to make it. I am really concerned about the children and the young people. If these are some of the experiences that the adults have, imagine the kids and the young people; they need to talk about it.”

Recalling an experience one of his sons shared, Rev. Lockhart recounted, “One of my sons who was not here for the hurricane, he is away in school, but one of his friends called him and she was just crying. She lost everything. She asked, ‘Where are we going to go next, where are we going to live?’ 

“And so, we need to help people through that. But it was good that she was able to talk to him and get that all out and so, that was important.” 

Rev. Lockhart also took the opportunity to commend the management, staff and volunteers of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the GBCC for feeding residents in the aftermath of the storm.

“This has been a tremendous partnership between the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), NEMA and the Grand Bahama Christian Council, which consists of our churches here on Grand Bahama. To see that we, together, fed 15-to-20,000 Bahamians every single day, it was truly amazing. 

“I do not think that any of us thought that it could have been done but, RCCL, being the supplier of the meals and of course, us (GBCC) along with NEMA, becoming that channel through which they can get the food to the communities being created.

“I must say that the cooperation with RCCL, NEMA, the churches and the community worked very well. It showed that we can do it and we stepped up. RCCL stepped up, the churches stepped up and the people stepped up,” concluded Rev. Lockhart. 

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