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Community : Abaco Last Updated: Nov 6, 2019 - 10:53:28 AM

Abaconian, Atario Mitchell returns to restore his hometown
By The Calabash Group-Kristen Jones
Nov 6, 2019 - 9:35:47 AM

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Forty five Abaconians have returned to Abaco to help restore Abaco. These men and women toil everyday in a hazardous environment as they remove debirs including white waste such as freezers and stoves, electronic waste including televisions and computers, household waste such as mattresses, couches and beds, and construction waste from the most devastated shantytown, The Mudd.

Two months after Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Abaco, the majority of the island remains desolate. However, one of Abaco’s hometown boys has returned to his childhood home to provide aid and assistance in beginning the restoration process of Abaco.

For the last four weeks, Caribbean Pavement Solutions, a subsidiary of The Bahamas Striping Group of Companies, was one of four companies who was mandated by the Government of The Bahamas to remove the debris from the shantytowns in Abaco.

President, Mr. Atario Mitchell, spent the first half of his life in Abaco, until he left the island after high school to begin his career in the road striping business. Mitchell described returning to Abaco as heart wrenching because all of his immediate family like many others became homeless in a matter of two days.

“Our island has never seen anything as catastrophic as Hurricane Dorian, and as I listened to many family members and friends relive and describe the storm, I realized that it was a horrific experience for everyone who was on the island. I am taking a special interest in this project, as it is home for me, and I would have never imagined that this island would have experienced this magnitude of devastation,” said Mitchell.

The company hired forty five (45) Abaconians, who were also eager to return to the only place they know as home and who also shared the same passion as Mitchell in beginning the restoration of Abaco even though they knew it would be intense and exhausting.

“I am taking a special interest in the clean up because this is my home, and I will always regard myself as an Abaconian. I have to do my part. My company and team will do our best to ensure that we play a role in ensuring that Abaco gets back on its feet, as we are resilient people and Abaco has the potential to be a burgeoning city once again,” said Mitchell.

Caribbean Pavement Solutions is responsible for removing all debirs including white waste such as freezers and stoves, electronic waste including televisions and computers, household waste such as mattresses, couches and beds, and construction waste from the most devastated shantytown, The Mudd.

Managing Director of Caribbean Pavement Solutions stated that the company travelled to Abaco and conducted an assessment to ensure that they would have the necessary equipment required such as excavators, grapple trucks, boom cranes, forklifts, payloaders, backhoes, low boy trailers, dump trucks, D5 and D8 tractors, and other equipment to ensure that the project moves on a timely basis.

“We have a steady movement of heavy equipment, but we want to ensure that the area is treated with a level of dignity because we know that there would be a few discoveries of human remains and we want to ensure that we are handling them with sensitivity,“ said Albury.

He added that the team is making significant progress as the weather is cooperating and he expects that the project will last for another six to eight weeks.

Scores of Bahamians feel that the clean up process is not moving swiftly, and international aid and assistance is required.

“Bahamians have the capacity and the level of equipment to handle a project of this magnitude. We are dealing with an unparalleled level of disaster that still potentially has human remains, therefore we have to handle the site with sensitivity, as we have to go through layers of debris. Our staff know from our safety briefings that if bodies are discovered, work in that area stops immediately and the local authorities are contacted along with the police, and the remains are removed before work commences. It is important that we ensure that all of our staff understand that no videos and photographs are allowed as we are certain that no family member wants to find out their loved ones has departed through social media,” added Albury.

Dr. Albury indicated that removal of the debris is the first phase of the reconstruction effort and there are several local operators that are doing tremendous work. There is a lot of work to be done and Bahamians have to buckle down and get it done.

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