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Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Dies at 95; Parts of Bahamas Totally Cut Off by Dorian; Boris Johnson: I'd Rather be Dead in a Ditch Than Ask E.U. for Delay. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 6, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Thank you for joining us here at CNN. I'm Natalie Allen. We begin with Dorian. North Carolina is in for a long night as the hurricane slowly moves up the coast.
For the past few hours, the core of the storm has been rushing the eastern edge of the state. Currently, it is a category 2 hurricane with winds at 100 miles or 155 kilometers per hour. You're looking at live video from Wilmington of North Carolina and you can appreciate the sound there of the winds.
But even though the center of the storm has not crossed the coastline, North and South Carolina have been battered and bruised for hours. This is Cape Fear. As nighttime began to fall, Dorian's eyewall edge closer and closer. So far five storm-related deaths have been reported in the United States. The American flag there indicating the power of the winds.
Of course, it is much more dire in the Bahamas. The official death toll there now stands at 30 with the country's Health Minister warns the final number will be, in his words, huge. We have it covered for you. Our Paula Newton and Patrick Oppmann are in the Bahamas and Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is in Charleston, South Carolina for us.
But first, let's go straight to our meteorologist Karen Maginnis. She is continuing to track the storm because millions are still being impacted. Karen?
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, ten million people under tropical storm warnings and hurricane warnings, most of those in North and South Carolina. Now, we can see just kind of how this is filled in here in the last few hours not looking as tight and as fierce as we saw this when it was moving across the Bahamas.
So it's wobbling a little bit right along the coastline but a lot of people still wondering, is this going to be making landfall. Let's give you the latest information. 100 mile-per-hour winds associated with this, also gusts that are higher. It's moving to the northeast at about 13 miles per hour.
So it's picking up a little bit of speed but nonetheless, it is across this western and northwestern edge that we're picking up the very heavy rainfall and some of these feeder bands are producing some tornadic activity. We saw tornado this morning Emerald Isle, North Carolina, lots of damage there, also in new burn city near the coastline.
Now these thunderstorms and the tornadoes associated with them typically are short-lived but nonetheless quite a bit of damage. And right now, there's a tornado warning that goes for something less than 15 minutes from now in the vicinity of Belvedere where you see this pink shaded area. That's where there has been a tornado reported.
We don't know yet if there's been any damage associated with this, but you can see wow, the tops on some of these thunderstorms with this eastern feeder band are fairly significant. So we'll probably keep that tornado watch and it does go until 7:00 in the morning.
Will this make landfall? Well, this is just one of the models. This is the North American model and it shows going into Friday morning about 9:00 a.m. coming close to the coast of North Carolina. This kind of depicts a landfall in the vicinity of Hatteras.
Now, I say this is one computer model. It is still significant. It is still right now a category 2. Maybe our next update from the National Hurricane Center which comes up in less than an hour, it'll come up at the top of the hour, we'll let you know if it's lost any strength, if it's continuing its movement towards the Northeast, but storm surge heavy rainfall, wind damage, power outages and the potential for these tornadoes have now kept this still going along coastal sections of the Carolinas. Natalie?
ALLEN: All right, Karen, thank you for the latest and we'll wait to hear from the National Hurricane Center for that update as well. Thanks. Well, as we know, some of the worst destruction we've seen so far has been in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas.
Paula Newton and her crew made it to Man-O-War Cay in Abaco and saw the unimaginable power of nature. Here's her exclusive report.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Everywhere you look on Abaco on these islands, you see destruction everywhere, the terror that people went through for several days here. They really find themselves speechless to even describe it to us. And yet when you look at the debris, you can understand what they're talking about.
This is someone's living room. They describe couches, pieces of their ceiling, their roof, any of their appliances, any of their belongings coming at them as projectiles. They are talking about the force of winds that was like multiple tornadoes touching down. And you can see what's happened here. You've got everything, debris everywhere.
This is as people were wondering when the storm was going to end. Everyone here was fearing for their lives wondering what would happen next. They were completely cut off from all communication, and now they're left with this destruction.
People are thankful for their lives and yet they understand the horror of what they just went through will be with them for a long time to come. Take a listen.
SHERRIE ROBERTS, SURVIVOR OF HURRICANE DORIAN: I'm from Tampa, married a Bahamian. I just want to let my family in the State know that we're OK.
NEWTON: I'm so sorry.
ROBERTS: And we thank God for life. It's not just us. Everybody is hurting. We're not any worse than anybody else. Everybody is hurting and we thank God for life.
NEWTON: Abaco was all about living the island dream, the island paradise. And many people here now are wondering if they can ever come back. One thing they do tell us is that Abaco will never be the same again.
As you can see their lives are now strewn all over these islands. If they're lucky enough that they're safe and they're healthy, they say they will try to rebuild, but they already know what a monumental task they have in front of them. Paula Newton, CNN Man-O-War on the Abaco Islands.
ALLEN: Joining me now from Freeport, Bahamas is Bennae Beneby. Bennae, thank you so much for talking with us. I'm told that you've been distributing hot food, cooking for people there. How are you pulling that off under these conditions and in the aftermath of such a devastating storm?
BENNAE BENEBY, SURVIVOR OF HURRICANE DORIAN: Yes, it is very devastating for our little island right now. We have no electricity. We have no running water at the moment. So it was pretty difficult but I honestly don't feel comfortable having a hot plate or something to eat and I know that the people who lost their home, they have nowhere to go.
I mean, it's really bad right now. So I went to the store, our food supply is limited, our resources is very limited, but we were able to do something today. Thank God. We literally made lemonade out of -- I mean, we literally made lemonade out of lemons today.
ALLEN: It sounds like you are. I'm told that you're cooking on a two-top gas burner so what you're doing is remarkable. How are you holding up after going through something as severe as Dorian?
BENEBY: Well, I'm so grateful that I blessed that my -- where I live, I live on the south shore so I was probably the only side that wasn't affected by the storm. But it's so, so scary because you have loved ones. It's a very small island so you know everyone.
So to have that story where they were flooding and then I had family members and friends who had to come to my house for safety because their house were flooding, they were in the attic, and they had to run to my house for safety, it's very scary.
ALLEN: I can certainly understand. As you're speaking, we're seeing aerial footage of Freeport and the destruction there. What are you hearing as far as aid that's coming in from the government, the response, and when will that get there?
BENEBY: This is the problem. I have not seen the government do nothing much. I have seen our people help more than the government. We are literally all we have right now at this moment. I'm seeing citizens and regular civilians help more than the government.
People came on their own jet skis, risk their lives while their own homes are flooding to help other people before the police came, before men came, before we got get real enforcement. And it's crazy the state of every day so --
ALLEN: Well, that --
BENEBY: All I can say is that we are actually helping each other.
ALLEN: That's very heartwarming but at the same time that's difficult I'm sure to wait for a more concerted response, a formal response from the government trying to go around many areas of the Bahamas and help people. Can you take us back to even though you were on this outside, you say Freeport, but it must have been very, very worrisome for you even to ride this out because the -- what people are saying about the sounds of this storm and the ferociousness of the winds, it's hard to comprehend.
BENEBY: It was crazy. It was -- it was insane. Like I was scared because we got a lot of force winds so I don't mind. You know, I was probably one of the very few persons -- like I said, I was spared from the flooding but we still got a lot of -- a lot of winds. I dare not to even complain because I'm so blessed --
BENEBY: -- to even have a home right now. Even within the conditions, I still have a home that I can go to. Not many can say that right now.
ALLEN: We appreciate you sharing your story with us and what the situation is and they're very thankful to have someone like you there cooking hot food for them, Bennae Beneby. We wish you the best and your friends and family the best. Thank you and take good care.
BENEBY: Thank you so much for even listening to us. Thank you so much. ALLEN: Remarkable stories of people helping people. They always do,
don't they? Well, Charleston, South Carolina was expected to take a heavy hit from Dorian but not that much we're happy to say. Derek Van Dam was there just in case. He joins us now live with the latest. Hi there, Derek!
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Natalie. I know you have a special place for Charleston in your heart. And you and the residents here can breathe a collective sigh of relief because it was really spared the worst from Hurricane Dorian.
I'm in the historic district of downtown Charleston. We've driven around. We've seen swamp roads, down power lines. Here's a street lamp that was knocked over by the wind, which by the way ended up being one of the worst factors of the storm for the city of Charleston even though there was so much anticipation for stole surge and flooding that really never materialized thankfully.
And I had an opportunity to talk to the mayor of Charleston. He actually was on our colleague John Berman's show earlier this morning on "NEW DAY" on CNN. And when he spoke to me, he said, you know, our businesses and our residents are very well prepared and equipped to prepare for storms of this magnitude.
Here's, for instance, this business behind me here taking sandbags and just preparing for this storm surge that inevitably does flood this street. This is a very vulnerable coastal city. Now, at the height of the storm, there was over 110 road closures that took place, 50 stoplights that were not functioning, over 160 trees that were knocked down.
But for the most part, we're talking about nuisance damage. That's what I like to refer to it as. It's still not great for the city but this will be cleaned up rather quickly. People will be able to get on with their day-to-day activities here probably by sunrise in the morning.
And the good news here, Natalie, is they're starting to lift some of the mandatory evacuations in and around Charleston. Still, evacuation orders in place here but that will likely be lifted in the coming hours. Natalie, back to you.
ALLEN: All right, that's certainly good news. All right, Derek Van Dam, Derek, thank you very much. We had --
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
ALLEN: We're just now learning former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has died. He was 95 years old. That word from the country's current president. He was the first head of government of Zimbabwe after independence in 1980 until November 2017 when the military seized control of the country.
He first served as prime minister until 1987 when Parliament made him the executive president. This new position effectively placed a stranglehold on government assuring that Parliament was less relevant and independent.
Mr. Mugabe was born in Kutama, in what was once the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. At an early age, he embraced Marxism and fought against Black suppression in Africa. He led the Zimbabwe African National Union to overthrow the white minority government of Ian Smith and bring independence to the territory that would go on to be recognized as Zimbabwe in 1980. CNN's David McKenzie now takes a look at the legacy of one of the men who shaped Africa.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After 37 years in power demanding nothing less than absolute loyalty, Robert Mugabe's reign was never going to end at the ballot box.
But few could have imagined those two weeks in November 2017 when his military moved against him and his people took to the streets.
So what did those crowds mean to former President Mugabe? What did he say?
FATHER FIDELIS MUKONORI, LEAD MEDIATOR: You saw that they spoke. You saw that they spoke.
MCKENZIE: Did it break him?
MUKONORI: It moved him. It moved him in this sense that he realized they are speaking to say it is -- this is enough.
MCKENZIE: The negotiations the generals would salute the man they were looking to overthrow, still the coup and his resignation was a humiliating exit for Mugabe, whose very name came to define Zimbabwe.
TREVOR NCUBE, NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER: This is a man who had so much to offer to Zimbabweans but he didn't. He focused on himself. What a tragedy. The death of Robert Mugabe breaks my heart within the context of the millions of lives that he destroyed. The millions of lives that he rect.
MCKENZIE: Robert McCarthy's legacy was built by violence and oppression. And an economic collapse so bad, money became worthless and millions fled. For many, he left behind a shell of a country.
ROBERT MUGABE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, do swear I will be faithful and --
MCKENZIE: So, it's easy to forget that at first he was likened to Nelson Mandela. Mugabe preached reconciliation after a brutal liberation struggle that he helped lead, repaired bonds with former colonial master, Britain. He was even knighted.
MUGABE: Historical links between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe, which date from far back in history have grown from strength to strength over the years. MCKENZIE: The young Zimbabwe became the envy of the continent. Mugabe trained as a teacher, presided over an education revolution, and a thriving agricultural powerhouse.
NCUBE: Robert Mugabe was my hero. And I looked up to Robert Mugabe's eloquence, Robert Mugabe's confidence and postulating amazing positions. And I decided that this is a man that impressed me.
MCKENZIE: But Mugabe like to say he had a degree in violence. And from the start, he squashed dissent.
ALICE MWALE, SURVIVOR (through translator): Yes, I saw people being killed. I saw them killed, and you could not say a word.
MCKENZIE: Alice Mwale relives her trauma every day. Her back was broken by the North Korean trained 5th brigade as they swept through (INAUDIBLE) land in 1983. The operation was called Gukurahundi and Shona. All the rains that was away the chafe, meant to crush Mugabe's rivals. Civilians were targeted, victims chosen along ethnic lines. When Mugabe's power was again threatened, this time at the ballot, he sanctioned violent attacks, seizing white-owned farms by so-called "war veterans", strengthening his hand.
And he crushed arising opposition using his hold on state security. But the violence shocked the world. Mugabe was abandoned by the West and its aid, and the country never fully recovered.
MUGABE: They want to come to us and dictate to us what we must do. That shall never be. Not in Zimbabwe, never, never. Whatever the cost.
MUKONORI: Robert Mugabe was not an idiot in the country. He worked hard for this country. Mistakes were done, but he's a man who cared. Ultimately, of course, the President is the end wholly responsibly for whatever action.
MCKENZIE: Actions throughout a long rule and rapid demise that many critics say we're driven by Mugabe's number one priority, himself.
ALLEN: That report from our David McKenzie. And David now joins me on the line from Johannesburg with more about this breaking news story. Certainly, David, your story there outlined the years and years of abuse that the people suffered under his leadership, if you call it that, but he was 95 years old. Are you learning anything more about his death and is there reaction coming in now from the country?
MCKENZIE (via telephone): Well, it's early morning in Harare, Natalie, and there will be very mixed reaction, I'm sure, on the death of this icon of the liberation struggle in Africa, but also (INAUDIBLE) of the subsequent slide of Zimbabwe as a very admired democratic country in to what has become an economic mess. Robert Mugabe, we know, was in Singapore. A place where he frequently received medical attention over the years and spent a great deal of time. It's assumed that he is still there when he passed. No clear details from his family, yet.
But, we did get word very recently, as we have been reporting that the current president of the Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was his right-hand man for many years, has put out saying it is with the utmost sadness that announced the passing of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President Robert Mugabe. Obviously, this is an ironic statement because it was Emmerson Mnangagwa who was in part spearheading that apparent coup to oust his former boss. But there will be a lot of plaudits and praise as well as criticism for Robert Mugabe today throughout Africa, I'm sure.
ALLEN: Right. And I remember, David, when Mnangagwa came into office, you're reporting there, about the hope that the people had for their country. So, many young people there energized, they're highly educated, yet, there is no jobs in that country. And still, Zimbabweans suffer, they have not seen the reforms that have altered their life very much, have they?
MCKENZIE (via telephone): It's a very strong point. And in just recent weeks, you've seen allegations of kidnapping of activists and the human rights lawyers. Again, people saying that, well, Mugabe left, but Zimbabwe is like the old Zimbabwe, that you still have these alleged human rights abuses ongoing in that country. There have been protests that have been quelled violently in the past few weeks there. But the bigger issue, I think, for ordinary Zimbabweans is, as you suggest, the economic collapse of the country, the lack of reforms that outsiders say should be happening. But the current president Emmerson Mnangagwa is also dealing with a economy that he inherited from his predecessor.
As I said, there'll be very mixed feelings about the passing of this icon. As I said, in that report, he was likened to Nelson Mandela in the early decades of his rule, a person who really came in and helped heal the wounds of a violent past in Zimbabwe, and move forward with a very strong education system. And the system that developed the country more so than many African countries post-independent, but subsequently, his stranglehold on power and his way of dealing with defense really did tarnish his legacy. And I think that will be perhaps his primary legacy today. Though people in the African the African Leadership might be trying to push the fact that he was a liberation icon, as well. A complicated character and certainly one of the icons of the 20th century in Africa.
ALLEN: Right. And with that, a complicated legacy, as well. Well, David McKenzie, we appreciate your reporting, and we will be continuing to follow this development, as more people learn about the death of Robert Mugabe at the age of 95. David, thank you. And we'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News. ALLEN: And our Breaking News, former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has died at the age of 95. He was the first head of government of Zimbabwe after independence back in 1980. And until November 2017, when the military seized control of the country and he was ousted. Mr. Mugabe was born in Kutama, and what was once the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. He led the Zimbabwe African National Union to overthrow the white minority government of Ian Smith, and then bring independence to the territory that would go on to be recognized as Zimbabwe in 1980.
Let's talk about him with Redi Tlhabi . She joins me on the phone from Johannesburg. She's a commentator and talk show host. Redi, obviously, Mugabe, a complex man, he was once described as being like Nelson Mandela, but he was ousted in disgrace. What will be his legacy?
REDI TLHABI, COMMENTATOR: Natalie, I can confirm that Robert Mugabe has died. He's seen as the founding father of the Democratic Zimbabwe, but there's no debate that in the three decades of his rule, Zimbabwe went from being a flying nations to being a beggar on the African continent. He's still held in high esteem by many of the freedom fighters, but for new generations of Zimbabweans, he is the man who denied them democracy, who denied them opportunities, and led to so many Zimbabweans fleeing and going to other African countries in search, I suppose, of a better life.
ALLEN: Right. And now, someone who served alongside him, Mr. Mnangagwa is in charge, but yet, the reforms that the people have wanted to see after Mugabe dug this hole for this country have not quite been realized. What will this signify for the people there who are trying to move on in life?
TLHABI: I think, generally, Zimbabweans have been forgiving. They will think of Mugabe with affection despite these many dire socio- economic problems. And certainly, for Emmerson Mnangagwa, there was never any doubt that rebuilding Zimbabwe will take decades of reform. Firstly, the civil liberties that Zimbabweans have been fighting for have not been realized. The regime, the police, the military still feel largely as repressive.
Mnangagwa have brought in younger ministers in the form of the finance minister who's educated in London, headed a business school here in Johannesburg. So, he feel as a reformist, but Zimbabwe simply does not have the tools and the assets needed urgently right now to rebuild the country. It will take a long time.
So, certainly, Mnangagwa has opened up the media space, marginally, he's appointed a younger, newer ministers. And it is hoped that they will usher Zimbabwe into a new era. But naturally, it is no small task because Zimbabwe literally went to its knees under Mugabe, and may add Mnangagwa and his deputies. So, Mnangagwa's struggle the previous dark period of Zimbabwe and even this new dawn of the Zimbabwe, many are skeptical about his ability and his intention.
ALLEN: Right. And how was he viewed, say, in South Africa and other countries that have been looking to see what would happen to Zimbabwe under his presidency?
TLHABI: Well, I can tell you now that it is in South Africa's interest for Zimbabwe to thrive and gain some economic recovery. You all know that many Zimbabweans are here in South Africa illegally. Some of them here as laborers.
Already in Johannesburg, in several parts of South Africa, there's been some xenophobic text, some really ugly text on Zimbabweans and Nigerian nationals. So it is not in South Africa's interest to not support Zimbabwe's economy.
Cyril Ramaphosa and Emmerson Mnangagwa enjoy good, healthy relationships. There are some bilateral deals that are being done. And hopefully that will keep Zimbabwe on a path to recovery. Everybody wants Zimbabwe to succeed (INAUDIBLE) location on the sub- Saharan economic front.
ALLEN: Well, we appreciate your insights, Redi Tlhabi for us there, commentator in South Africa. This story just now breaking that Robert Mugabe has indeed died at age 95. And we'll continue to follow the developments and the reaction.
And we'll be right back with more CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: And welcome back to our viewers watching here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.
Our breaking news is this.
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has died at the age of 95. He was the first head of government of Zimbabwe after independence back in 1980 until November 2017 when, you may remember, the military seized control of the country from him.
Mr. Mugabe was born in Kutama in what was once a British colony. He led the Zimbabwe African National Union to overthrow the white minority government of Ian Smith and bring independence to the territory that would go on to be recognized as Zimbabwe in 1980.
Our David McKenzie is in Johannesburg with more on Mr. Mugabe and his legacy. You've covered him for many years -- David. And we're saying at first, he was heralded as maybe another Nelson Mandela but it did not end that way for him in 2017.
MCKENZIE (via telephone): No, it certainly didn't. And it was a shock to many to see the military rolling on the streets during that November and basically pushing him out of power through force.
I want to just bring you another statement made from the current president of Zimbabwe. Hew tweeted out this as well saying "Comrade Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist. He dedicated his life to the emancipation and parliament of his people. His contribution to history, our nation (INAUDIBLE) will never be forgotten."
And this is a testament, certainly you'll hear today from many African leaders. Obviously Emmerson Mnangagwa, the current president was his right hand man for many years. But there will be a far more complex and tainted legacy for those living in Zimbabwe dealing with the repercussions of Mugabe's long time rule.
Just this week there have been strikes by teachers in their country. There had been attempts at protests that have been violently squashed and the economy has basically flatlined.
But still, this was an icon of, as I say, the 20th century and beyond in Zimbabwe of the African Liberation Movement. This complex and tainted legacy of Mugabe will be discussed greatly today, I'm sure. And I'm already seeing it discussed on social media by all sorts of people around the globe, especially in Africa -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Yes. And back in 2017, when the military no longer supported him, what was the turning point -- David, that led to that moment?
MCKENZIE: The turning point many feel was that the first lady at the time Grace Mugabe was making a powerplay with other members of a faction within the ruling ZANU-PF and it was just not acceptable to Emmerson Mnangagwa and others.
Because of his long-term failing health Mugabe has been on and off sick for a very long time. He died at the age of 95 after all.
As there was a factional battle to see who would succeed him and given the man that he was, he never really set up a legacy or a continuation of the power beyond him. There was a moment when the opposition many believe won an election where Mugabe clung on to power and that could have been a moment where he stepped away from power and solidified his legacy as an icon of the liberation struggle.
But because of that and because of many other actions both while president and in the years since there is a sense that that legacy is tainted for many, many people.
But I have to say, you know, ordinary Zimbabweans, having been there pretty recently, are just struggling with making ends meet. A proud country which can -- was a standard bearer (ph) of the liberation movement of independence has really been brought to its knees by years of mismanagement of the economy and just of the people's lives.
ALLEN: Yes. That is so, so very unfortunate for these people who had such high hopes for change in 2017.
David McKenzie for us. Thank you. We know you'll still keep bringing us reaction to the death of Robert Mugabe and will continue to bring our viewers any more developments about this story and reaction there in Africa to it.
Next here, the power of a monster hurricane -- a tropical paradise reduced to rubble. We have a new exclusive look at Grand Bahama Island. [01:39:37]
ALLEN: We have an update for you on Hurricane Dorian. It has now weakened slightly to a Category 1 storm. But of course, when it ravaged the Bahamas it was a Category 5. And some areas there had been cut off for days after Dorian tore through. High Rock on Grand Bahama Island, for instance, no one could get there to see the level of destruction until now.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann hand his team shows us what is left in his exclusive report.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're in the town of High Rock on Grand Bahama Island, or I should say, what used to be the town of High Rock.
This behind me is the clinic and it has been leveled by Hurricane Dorian's Category 5 winds that came screaming through here. There are people in the Bahamas who say that the Abacos - a different island received the worst damage and they need to come here. They need to come to the remote places on Grand Bahama island that very have visited.
Were only about an hour from Freeport but it took us much longer to get here driving around debris like this. You can see in every direction for miles all the power lines are down. Most of the poles are down.
There are trees down You don't see any cars coming back and forth because there is nothing or nowhere to go through here.
OPPMANN: But this was the town center. Over there -- look at this. This is amazing. This was the police station. Hurricane Dorian came here and ripped the roof clean off.
But not only that -- you think of the power that a storm needs to knock down entire cement walls. We don't know if anybody was here but it's hard to imagine they could have survive because residents say the storm surge -- and you could see the line just up there -- got this high, almost all the way to the roof. 17 feet they said, they measured it.
You can see the water stains all the way down to the ground -- devastation everywhere you look. And it pounces (ph) all the way back to the water. There are some 300 homes here. Every home is either damaged or destroyed.
You can see where the wind smashed into the sign but somehow didn't tear it off is. These are slabs of concrete and they have been thrown around like they were nothing, like they weighed nothing. This is the High Rock prison. There's only one jail cell and it is not guarding anybody now. We don't know if anybody was here when the storm came behind bars. But they surely didn't stick around.
There is nothing left in this town and the people say they have yet to receive any help from the government. Like so many Bahamians they are waiting for that assistant to come.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- the town of High Rock on Grand Bahama Island.
ALLEN: Next here, we take you to the U.K. where Boris Johnson says he'd rather be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit even one more day. But if the British Prime Minister fails to sort things out soon, he may be forced to ask the E.U. for more time -- something he says he won't do.
We'll break it down with our guest next.
ALLEN: We turn now to Brexit.
Options quickly running out for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he tries to steer the U.K. out of the European Union with just eight weeks to go.
Parliament is putting the final touches on legislation that will make a no deal Brexit illegal. That means the British Prime Minister may be forced to seek an extension past the October 31st deadline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you make a promise today to the British public that you will not go back to Brussels and ask for another delay to Brexit?
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes. I can.
JOHNSON: I'd rather be dead in a ditch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: He doesn't mince words for sure. With us from Berlin to talk about this is CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. We always appreciate -- you are our point man on Brexit.
Well is this bluster from Boris Johnson, he'd rather be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit one more day. Or will he be forced to cooperate with parliament? DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, parliament is
in charge and parliament ultimately decides his fate. In many ways, you could argue that if you don't go to Brussels to ask for an extension then in some ways politically he might very well be dead in a ditch because a general election is going to be premised on whether or not he can get support from the Brexit Party.
And the Brexit Party are absolutely clear and unambiguous that they don't want him to go back to Brussels and that they are hell-bent on a having no deal or hard Brexit. So he finds himself in a very difficult situation. Ultimately as things play out here the goal is to try and trigger a general election.
That's what he wants but right now all the power is being held by the opposition since he has lost his control over parliament and lost his majority.
ALLEN: Right. Still can't rule general election. That's is something to watch.
And then there was this development. His brother Joe Johnson, who was an MP, resigned over all of this. His tweet in part said, "In recent weeks I've been torn between family loyalty and the national interests."
So Dominic, how does this development add to the drama? Does it?
THOMAS: Well, it's another thing. I mean you could argue that, you know, his brother has Brexited -- self-Brexited from Boris Johnson's cabinet. When he came to power he surrounded himself by his hard-core Brexiteers. His brother is not one of them.
And in the past few days, first of all through the question of prorogation, then the deselection of candidates. The removing moving people from the Conservative Party that have not voted long -- all of these point in a very negative direction.
And I think that for his brother, this became more complicated and he's not the only one to step away one can expect others to step away from Boris Johnson's cabinet. And as we down this road.
But it points to the deep divisions and fractures within this cabinet. And the difficulties that this Prime Minister is having, administration navigating between his promises and the realities of the British political landscape and also, of course, of the legal system.
ALLEN: Absolutely -- well said. Well, the Prime Minister was giving a speech to police recruits in northern England talking about these issues and then appeared somewhat disorganized addressing them at the time. And then one police recruit got (INAUDIBLE) behind it.
Here's what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Time and time again Jeremy Corbyn -- don't worry, I'm going to embrace it.
Are you all right? I'm so sorry. I think that's -- that is (INAUDIBLE) actively to wind up, ok.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Yes. That was a very awkward moment and we feel sorry for that police recruit. What was the moral of the story. This has been a challenging week for Boris Johnson and that was somewhat a symbol of it.
THOMAS: It was. And it's been challenging in many ways. I mean interestingly enough, you know, even the high court in London just weighed in yesterday and arguing after the whole question of prorogation. And was essentially politically motivated and this is a big problem and it's further divided the conservative party, further divided parliament. But I think what we see coming out of this here now is actually something that, you know, yet again, quite disturbing.
In many ways, Boris Johnson setting up parliament as the kind of enemy of the British people. The British people sent them there to do their work, to deliver Brexit and he's trying to represent it since he's been unable himself to navigate through parliament and get the legislation, or block the legislation. Get a general election that he's trying to prepare the road for one of these elections or maybe even a second referendum in which he stands as the representative of the people who want Brexit and sets up the parliament as the enemy here.
So there's a real stand off taking place between the cabinet and between the parliamentary constituency. And I think it's kite worrying to see all the things that have happened in the past for a few days.
ALLEN: Absolutely. And that standoff continues and next week, one that we'll be watching closely.
Dominic Thomas -- always appreciate your insights. Thank you.
THOMAS: Thank you Natalie.
ALLEN: Thank you for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.
Much more on the death of Robert Mugabe plus the latest on Hurricane Dorian's path right after this with George Howell.