#Barbados, August 25, 2019 — Barbados is preparing for a storm surge of 6 to 12 feet as the fourth named system in the Atlantic Basin is formed and forecast to slam into the island by Monday evening.
The country, according to its Prime Minister Mia Mottley is on ‘full, high, alert” as one of three Caribbean nations under Tropical Storm warning. St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were also put on the warning list today by the National Hurricane Center, based in Miami Florida.
“We expect the surf to be considerable, about 6 to 12 feet, that’s 2.5 to 3.5 metres and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy and Fisheries Division has made arrangements for a haul up to take place at Pile Bay and Bay street and Port Ferdinand and Port St. Charles are prepared to take in vessels this afternoon for safe harbor.”
On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley addressed her country and its visitors in a 36 minute nationally televised press conference on the encroaching hurricane. Prime Minister Mottley’s focus was on the potential of the storm to evolve quickly, debilitate country operations and cause harm to people and property.
I want to say to Badians; look, it is Sunday afternoon, it is 2:30, pause if you were sleeping, if you were eating, whatever you were doing focus on just getting yourself ready at home. The first responsibility for yourself is by you,” with a sense of urgency, Prime Minister Mottley added, “Let us get out of the way, in the next few hours, the clean up around our house and the preparations.
We do not know if this storm will quicken and if it does, we do not know what you will be able to do in the morning if/when the reconnaissance aircraft it presents a dimmer picture than we currently have.”
At the time of the press conference, she confirmed that meetings had already happened with all key agencies and plans were mobilized for even evacuations to take place.
“The St Lucy District Hospital is being evacuated this afternoon and people will go to the Gordon Cummins Hospital and the Geriatric Hospital from there. The other place that will be evacuated is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and those persons will go to the psychiatric hospital.”
Some supermarkets agreed to extend their Sunday shopping hours; fishermen were asked to work immediately toward moving their vessels to safe ports and it was confirmed that generators at the hospital are in place and fully functional and established water tanks are full, with three new back-up water bladders preparing to be fast tracked from the harbor and into service as an emergency supply.
A revised shelters list will be circulated by Barbados Government Information Services and due to school still being closed for the Summer break, Prime Minister Mottley assured that if necessary, capacity can be easily expanded.
“Transport Board buses will remain operational until midnight tonight and will start back at 5 am and obviously we will ask that those who have to work late this evening, that arrangements be put in place to have workers be able to get home. And let us use the brotherly and sisterly spirit that we need.”
Capacity of buses for Sunday was at 75 in operation, still the Transport Authority was asked to “mobilise and know immediately who are some of the private sector operators who can supplement as we go forward.”
It was shared that the public transportation has a plan in place for after the storm.
Electricity, fuel and heads of departments of Civil Service were other major issues addressed by the Prime Minister.
Hon Mottley expressed that the electricity company, Barbados Light and Power had already addressed an area of concern in Spring Garden over the weekend.
Residents in areas where pumping stations are being outfitted with new generators were advised by PM Mottley to brace for an up to 3-hour interruption in electricity as the new equipment is installed.
“The truth is that we are significantly in a better situation with respect to water generation and water tanks this year than a year ago.”
All government Permanent Secretaries, Chief Technical Officers and Heads of Department were scheduled to come in to work on Sunday to secure government equipment and files.
Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, at the press conference, assured that the Royal Barbados Police Force will be on duty during the storm and encouraged residents to, from tomorrow, remain indoors and to be on their best behavior.
Prime Minister Mottley added that no one is expected to be out once the ‘shut down’ is given.
Not uncharacteristic for Caribbean countries, a prayer was rendered for the safety of the Barbados.
Seventh Day Adventist Elder, Colin Jordan who is also a Barbados Government, Cabinet Minister prayed in part: “We are happy Father that you have called us to lead and to be responsible citizens in this country. We recognize that while you are in control and while you have promised to protect us, you have also said to us that faith without works is dead. And so as we prepare for any challenge that may come form Tropical Storm Dorian, we pray that you will give us wisdom, knowledge, understanding and help us to see what needs to be done and help us to treat this matter as one that is important and one that is urgent. We pray that you will protect our country…”
Barbados has a population of 293,131 people according to the CIA World Fact Book.
Guyana to build regional food hub
#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.
In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.
“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean. What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have. We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”
Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.
Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.
In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh, Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.
Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.
Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.
Cayman makes striking policy change to include more blood donors
#CaymanIslands, September 29, 2023 – The Cayman Islands overturned a policy that banned blood donation from people who visited the island from or resided in countries where “mad cow disease” existed. This was revealed by Sabrina Turner, Health Minister in Parliament, as reported by CNW Network.
People who resided in Britain from 1980 to 2001 and those who had blood transfusions in the UK after 1980, can now donate blood.
Due to recent risk evaluation, and the current protocol for blood donors, many nations, CNW reports, have re-evaluated and adjusted similar guidelines regarding blood donation, as Cayman Islands has now done.
The now initial restrictions on blood donations for the country was called for and was important as at the time of implementation, “mad cow disease” or as it’s scientifically called, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), was at-large affecting not just cows, but also people, who are able to contract “a version of BSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD),” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.
The likely reason for the Cayman Islands’ targeted population of those affiliated with living in the UK or getting blood transfusion in the UK, was because most of the people with vCJD lived in the UK, as highlighted by the FDA.
Also, as BBC says in a 2018 report, 1 in 2000 people in the UK is thought to be a carrier of the disease, even though some who are carriers don’t go on to develop symptoms.
However, the change in Cayman Islands’ policy does not mean the disease is no longer out there.
In fact the FDA said, “as of 2019, 232 people worldwide are known to have become sick with vCJD, and unfortunately, they all have died. It is thought that they got the disease from eating food made from cows sick with BSE. Most of the people who have become sick with vCJD lived in the United Kingdom at some point in their lives. Only four lived in the U.S., and most likely, these four people became infected when they were living or traveling overseas.”
Bwa Kalé movement striking back against gangs, nearly 3,000 murdered
#Haiti, September 29, 2023 – In eight months, nearly 3,000 Haitian people have been slaughtered in their home country due to the upsurge and uprising of gangs in the republic which is struggling to hold its democracy in check.
‘Bwa Kalé’, it’s a vigilante movement that has sprung up in Haiti, and the UN says it is driving up murders.
A recent report following an expert visit detailed it.
“Certain groups have formed allegedly to protect their neighbourhoods from gangs. In some instances, these groups have summarily executed people suspected of being gang members. The Bwa Kalé movement demonstrates the population’s lack of trust in the State, especially in the police and the courts. The expert has learned that some members of the police and the judiciary have been complicit with gangs.”
Despite the obvious fear among residents, the UN is warning them not to take justice into their own hands. However, that is easier said than done as Haitians have demonstrated their feelings of abandonment by fleeing the island in mass numbers on illegal voyages and standing up to the gangs themselves.
In the same report, one said: “The State is absent, there are no police or other officials operating there.”
According to AP, a new report to the U.N. Security Council indicated that 2,728 intentional killings were recorded between October 2022 and June 2023, including 247 women, 58 boys, and 20 girls. Bwa Kalé is blamed partially for the increase, as life in the country is described as unbearable.
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