Ragged Island families want to rebuild

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS of Ragged Island are determined to go back home immediately and rebuild despite the decimation left from Hurricane Irma, with the community’s chief councillor saying it is “foolishness” for anyone to consider the island uninhabitable.

Ragged Island natives have said they have nowhere else to go and do not want to remain in New Providence, an island rife with crime and violence.

Some residents believe they can safely stay on the island in the structures that were not destroyed and want to start reconstruction as soon as possible.

Chief councillor Demison Nesbitt, who has been staying at a shelter in Nassau since last week, said he doubts any of the residents still on the island would choose to evacuate rather than rebuild the area.

He told The Tribune: “It’s foolishness. We have decided we are going back home to rebuild.

“Ragged Island is not a bunch of unknown people.

“If the prime minister don’t want them there, them people ain’t gonna leave because that’s their home. A little bit of cleaning up and other stuff what may seem like a lot, Ragged Island people will handle it.

“Ragged Island people been through this before and we will get it together,” Mr Nesbitt said.

Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC, has also criticised Dr Minnis’ call for residents of Duncan Town to evacuate in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma as he questioned the conditions which led the government to deem Ragged Island uninhabitable.

Mr Munroe, who was born on the island, took issue with this, adding he and a group of Ragged Island natives are also organising clean up and rebuilding efforts despite any pronouncements made about the island’s condition by the government.

These efforts will begin as early as Thursday when the first group of people arrive by mail boat to begin cleanup. Ed Curling, a local business owner, told The Tribune yesterday he will ensure his heavy equipment fleet aids in these efforts.

On Monday, after seeing the decimation for the first time since Irma battered the nine-square-mile island, the prime minister said health and safety conditions will only continue to deteriorate.

The island’s physical condition, exacerbated by the smell of rotting animal carcasses and the destruction of all essential services, led Dr Minnis to strongly urge those still on Ragged Island to leave until the small community can be restored.

Yesterday, Mr Munroe questioned the logic of asking people to leave the island.

“To give you some context, the whole island of Ragged Island is nine square miles - three miles by three miles, so it’s not very big,” Mr Munroe told The Tribune. “The settlement itself is in an area that would fit probably into Arawak Cay and Long Wharf to the Hilton Hotel. That’s not very big. How long does it take you to get that area liveable?

“It must be liveable because people are living there and more people went up there today (Tuesday) to resume living there and more people flew up there today to resume living there and more people are going up on the weekend to resume living there.

“While you don’t have running water, you have to go to the well to tote water, but before I left Ragged Island I used to tote water and we had outside toilet although I am understanding that the toilet at the old Anglican church is functioning and even if it’s not, the old pits are there.

“When you don’t have electricity, you have a generator and they have generators so I don’t understand what’s unlivable about it,” Mr Munroe said.

“If animals are dead you collect them up (and) you either bury them, burn them or put quick lime on them. Animals die after every storm so I do not quite understand what is unlivable about Ragged Island.

“They say no police is there. We don’t need police because we don’t be murdering one another. I am trying to find out what in this small area of settlement makes it unlivable.

“After Hurricane Matthew hit, the Marshall Road area (in New Providence) was hit hard, was anyone evacuated or they lived there while power was restored? When Joaquin hit Long Island some people came up when their homes were destroyed, but they were not evacuated.

“I am just at a lost as to what makes Ragged Island different,” Mr Munroe said.

Another Ragged Island resident currently in New Providence said yesterday she had no desire to live in New Providence, pointing to high crime numbers in the capital.

“We don’t have to deal with killing and stealing at home,” she said. “In Nassau we have to worry about something happening to me or my family.”

Meanwhile, Mr Curling told The Tribune yesterday he and other descendants of Ragged Island were committed to rebuilding the island.

Mr Curling’s business is based in New Providence.

He said: “Ragged Islanders are going to clean up Ragged Island and with the government’s help we are going to rebuild.

“The prime minister is right when he said unlivable because of the environment. You have no doctor, no nurse, the scent of dead animals and there is water contamination. We don’t want to risk lives to the environment when we don’t have the proper health care,” Mr Curling added.

“So the government will spearhead an effort. After they move who wants to be moved and the others stay at their own risk, we will do what we have to do.

“I hope with God’s help that the prime minister will help us to build Ragged Island to be a little city to be admired in the whole world,” Mr Curling said.

An estimated 60 to 70 people live on Ragged Island and most of them evacuated ahead of the category five storm.

About 18 people remained on the island as Irma barreled through.

The government is sending a plane today to evacuate the remaining residents.

Comments

TalRussell says...

Comrades! If this Red Shirts Cabinet is serious about cleansing the inhabitants off our Out Islands, you has rejects this business, foreigner land grabbers loving red shirts cabinet's intent to use their majority of red MP seats in the Peoples Honourable House of Assembly, and majority control Upper Red Senate Chambers - to take Innocent Ragged Islanders properties. First, it will be Ragged Island, then Bimini or some other innocent Out Islanders stuff? Rein-in such dictatorial intents - before they take Ragged Islanders stuff!

Posted 13 September 2017, 12:59 p.m. Suggest removal

stillwaters says...

Home is a special place. Very few people ever want to move out of a home of their own. Same applies to their island, which is home too. Can't expect these people whose live are peaceful, they are near the beautiful beach, they neighbors are like family, to move into crime ridden Nassau.

Posted 13 September 2017, 1:13 p.m. Suggest removal

tell_it_like_it_is says...

Agreed. If they put their mind to it, I think they can get it back on its feet. It should be THEIR choice. Like so many people who had to rebuild after Matthew, they can do it; many of whom I knew personally did it out of their own pockets without insurance or government assistance even though they were not wealthy.

Posted 13 September 2017, 3:47 p.m. Suggest removal

alleycat says...

Good for you, Ragged Islanders! Don't let the idiot Government stick you on the Reservation like the Indians. Go back to YOUR island and rebuild YOUR homes and don't let anyone stop you.

Posted 13 September 2017, 1:24 p.m. Suggest removal

Well_mudda_take_sic says...

If they want to live in an uninhabitable place that's their business; but my tax dollars should not have to pay for their stupidity! The taxes paid by the few inhabitants of these uninhabitable islands is not even enough to pave a few miles of road much less airport, utilities (water, electricity & phone), mailboat dock, etc. etc. If they're stupid enough to want to continue living down there, then let them do so completely tax free but without any support whatsoever from all other much more sensible Bahamian tax payers. Yes they have a right to be fools, but the rest of us also have a right to treat them for what they are, i.e. fools! Forget all the charming history behind life in these most southern islands of the Bahamas. The reality is global warming has sea levels rising and hurricanes are now much more frequent and intense.

Posted 13 September 2017, 1:32 p.m. Suggest removal

Dawes says...

Do people understand what the PM said. He did not say leave for good. He said you should leave now as the place is uninhabitable. There won't be a clinic, Power, water for a while. So go to a place that has these. Now maybe the Government decides that they wont repair those, in which case people from Ragged Island will either have to do it themselves or leave. But that is in the future. Right now the PM is only saying it wont be fixed overnight.

Posted 13 September 2017, 1:44 p.m. Suggest removal

TalRussell says...

Comrades! How many were murdered on Ragged Island - compared to Nassau in the days prior to, during and after Hurricane Irma?
Ragged Islanders are not going be happy just anywhere you dispatch them. PM, if Ragged Islanders, done knows where makes them most happy - why not leave them the hell to be?
Can you imagine what would happen to your stuffs, if you had evacuate Nassau Town? Nobody was tiefing their fellow Ragged Islanders, left alone stuffs and things.

Posted 13 September 2017, 1:45 p.m. Suggest removal

avidreader says...

As the Italians say "Everything is a question of money" or Tutte e cuestione di soldi.
Who is going to pay for the reconstruction? I doubt very much that many (or any) buildings in Duncan Town, Ragged Island, were covered by catastrophic hurricane insurance. So, again, I ask: Who is going to pay for the reconstruction? At a time when the incoming FNM administration is seeking desperately to avoid a downgrade by the international ratings agencies
it seems highly unlikely that they will seek a further loan for purposes of reconstruction.
This is a serious matter on a national level and requires some level-headed thinking.

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:14 p.m. Suggest removal

John says...

Ragged Island can be made back into the strategic and busy port it once was and stimulate the growth and expansion of the Southern Bahamas. Not disagreeing with Prime Minnis at all for offering the people relief from the hurricane stricken island but it must be rebuilt. The situation shouldn't be like a New Orleans where persons were 'evacuated ' and sent all over the US to strange places. Some were never returned and others came back only to find that their properties were taken by the government or otherwise taken over. Because their documents were lost in the hurricane they had no claim or no funds to prove their claim so they were left out in the cold.

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:16 p.m. Suggest removal

Islandboy242242 says...

Sounds like a news report from a movie. Families would rather live on a decimated island rather than live in crime stricken Nassau for another day. The movie plot would then cut to Batman or Superman swooping in to save Nassau from its downward spiral and dark alleys filled with thugs. This really should be a lesson to the govt, that people would rather live without light, water and a roof before they spend a night in Nassau.
.
My opinion of Ragged Island is... let the men of the island rebuild if they want and are able. If the govt wants to help, great; help with the building materials, shipping, logistics and some labor.

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:21 p.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

The Taylor family that set up Duncan Town, Ragged Island, also set up Clarence Town, Long Island ......... These are proud, strong people who will bounce back .......... regardless of what you urban bigots say here. The seven great surnames of Ragged Island will continue to shine in this country.

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:22 p.m. Suggest removal

The_Oracle says...

Rotting animal carcasses do present a health problem, as well as a possible risk to drinking water. Both of those issues must be addressed, if not by Government then by the residents properly guided.
Aside that, If they own the land, there is nothing stopping them from doing whatever thy want with it. I do not believe Government funds aught to be used at this point however.
Now, what a perfect opportunity to do an alt energy system to address and supply energy needs on that island. Carbon War Room, are you Listening? Here is your opportunity to Impress! Government aught to be divesting itself of these Massive overhead costs for essential services. What a perfect time to do one right!

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:37 p.m. Suggest removal

TalRussell says...

Comrades! This red shirts crown cabinet is but one toe-step away from being classified as Out Islanders ways of life, obstructionists. Come 2022 General Election, not even no Goat worth their wool's value - would be caught wearing a red wool's t shirt.

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:43 p.m. Suggest removal

TigerB says...

Hurricanes will not go away my brother, they will be here every year as long as we are alive. Bottom line, failing to plan is planning to fail!,

Posted 13 September 2017, 2:55 p.m. Suggest removal

concerned799 says...

With huricaines getting stronger and stronger a national debate is needed - how small an island will be rebuilt with full services in future storms?

If all islands go back to original condition, is everyone willing to pay more tax or see services cut to pay for it?

If he doesn't want to live on Nassau perhaps the government could fund a move to Long Island as a way of addressing the lifestyle desire not to live on a very populated island if everyone decides major rebuilds aren't doable going forward?

Further with conch numbers crashing frankly moving islands into protected conch recovery zones is perhaps all that can save them in the long term so there are huge fishery/ecological benefits to be had if some smaller islands were left as preserves.

Posted 13 September 2017, 3 p.m. Suggest removal

Islandboy242242 says...

Are hurricanes really getting stronger or has Nassau just been in the crosshairs for the last 3 years after getting lucky for nearly a decade? I think Oracle is right, maybe this would be a good time for a private firm to offer some sort of contract with the government where the private firm sets up a solar farm and provides power, infrastructure and maintenance in Ragged Island, and the residents pay the private firm vs BPL. From what I see on the videos it looks like they have a decent elevation from storm surge, its just the winds that are an issue.

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...

Posted 13 September 2017, 3:37 p.m. Suggest removal

Tam30 says...

The Bible says curse is the man who put their trust in man. Ragged Islanders trust God and He will make a way. Tal, I support you. To the others, I say think with your heart and not with your pocket. Everything is money and what PM says.

Posted 13 September 2017, 3:21 p.m. Suggest removal

Baha10 says...

Serious dilemna for any Governement when personal emotion is at odds with economic reality, made even more complicated by the most basic human right to determine one's own destiny, irrespective of conflict with the interests of the majority. True Test of Character and Judgment for any Politician.

Posted 13 September 2017, 7:24 p.m. Suggest removal

BahamaPundit says...

Let's take this time to realize that Ragged Island is symbolic for the entire Bahamas. Its hurricane wrecked status is a metaphor for New Providence's faded glory. Bay Street, once teaming with high roller tourists puffing cigars and buying Rolexes has been replaced by corpse-like cruise visitors that sneer at $2 straw hats. Let's take this time to remember that Ragged Island is We. Once the envy of the world financial centers, with thousands of IBCs incorporated each month, now a ghost town of FACTA and OECD. We are Ragged Island my fellow Bahamians. Our crime and murders are ragged. Our BGCSE D average is ragged. Our corrupted politicians are ragged. Our 7 billion dollar debt is ragged. And, most importantly, our pride and love for one another is completely ragged. Irma, blow over this ragged chain of islands, blow. For not a structure remains standing and looters roam the streets.

Posted 13 September 2017, 11:10 p.m. Suggest removal

TalRussell says...

Comrade BahamaPundit, you couldn't be more wrong to felt it necessary to
symbolically refer to Ragged Islanders - as a 'ragged people'. May God, not sprungs heat upon your damaged soul.
Amen!

Posted 14 September 2017, 12:10 a.m. Suggest removal

John says...

Before the 1990's automakers made of heavy and durable metals with the intention of saving lives in an accident. The premise was a stronger vehicle would protect the driver and passengers inside the vehicle. But traffic fatalities did not decrease . Then technology suggested making 'softer' vehicles with crush zones. Cars virtually disintegrate on impact . But with the addition of airbags and other safety devices passengers are left fairly safe and unharmed. The point is with the massive devastation and destruction of recent hurricanes , the loss of human life has been minimal.. The key to more hurricane resistant buildings and structures may not necessarily be stronger construction but buildings that are more dynamic to resist high winds. Powerful hurricanes seem to be laden with tornadoes and even the US cannot seem to build tornado resistant structures. For certain a small room with mostly inner walls and now windows seem to be most resistant next to underground structures. Only problem is the flooding that accompanies hurricanes.

Posted 14 September 2017, 3:38 a.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

Good points ........ homes that "breathe" and can bend under heavy winds .....little overhang, rounded walls and smaller windows/doors ...... a sealed safebox-type bunker with vital air, water and power supply to last for at least 24-48 hours. That must be the new home tech engineering for building codes for the hurricane belt region.

Posted 17 September 2017, 10:14 a.m. Suggest removal

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