Exuma, Bahamas – Last week the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and the US Coast Guard received notification of a grounded vessel in the Exuma Chain. During the recovey efforts BNT Wardens at the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park were requested to assist the local police force in their efforts. BNT Wardens Henry Haley and Kendedo Marshall and two RBDF Officers responded to the call in an Exuma Park vessel.
Superintendent McDaniel, who is in charge of Exuma police noted, “it is common in the Exuma Community for volunteers and residents to respond to emergencies. It is also extremely helpful that ECLSP Warden Henry Haley is Reserve Police Officer. “
The tragic grounding of the 40-foot Haitian sloop in Bahamian waters is being described by the RBDF “as the worst immigration disaster in history with over 30 dead.” The RBDF transported over 119 persons back to Nassau and the survivors were in very poor condition and the recovery of the drowned victims was traumatic for all concerned.
RBDF Senior Lieutenant Carlon Bethell in charge of Operations personally thanked the BNT Wardens for their efforts , “Mr. Haley and the team that rendered assistance to HMBS Yellow Elder during the rescue of the 104 Haitian migrants which ran aground West of Harvey Cay earlier this week. The effort of the team was nothing short of exceptional. The Exuma Park Wardens should be commended for their timely response, diligent work and unwavering support in the rescue efforts of the Haitian migrants and collaborative efforts with the RBDF as a whole. On behalf of HMBS Yellow Elder, and as the On Scene Commander of the rescue operation, I extend our sincerest gratitude to Mr. Haley and his team.”
Eric Carey, Executive Director of the BNT, was quick to praise his staff for their outstanding efforts “They operate in an isolated outpost and are part of the Exuma community. The saving of human lives and lending assistance in times of emergency is an understood part of our wardens’ duties. However these tragedies take an enormous emotional toll on all who are involved. Wardens Henry Haley and Kendedo Marshall went well beyond the call of duty in this instance. The BNT is fortunate to have wardens who display courage and compassion when it comes to dealing with tragedies such as this.
The BNT joins the nation in its concern and sorrow over this tragic incident that occurred in our waters. RBDF officers and the BNT wardens are being afforded counseling to assist them in dealing with the tragedy.