Statement by leader of the opposition Dr. Denzil Douglas:
“Fellow Citizens and Residents:
As the Hurricane season roars on, we have been alerted by the international meteorological centres and media houses, especially in the United States, that one of the powerful storms, Hurricane Irma, has strengthened in the Atlantic. We are advised that it is likely to pass close to the Leeward islands which include St Kitts and Nevis, between Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. As of 2 o’clock today, Hurricane Irma was located at 16.7 degrees North and 53.8°W moving West South West at 14 miles per hour, generating maximum sustained winds at 120 miles per hour. The last recorded minimum pressure of Hurricane Irma was 944 millibars.
Fellow citizens, the Federation has had its share of devastating hurricanes in the past years that have wreaked havoc on our housing stock, our crops and infrastructure thus crippling economic growth in the Federation and causing major setbacks in our developmental initiatives. We recall the vagaries of Hurricanes Hugo, Lenny and George in particular and the accompanying losses that we experienced in the wake of these natural disasters. We are now confronted with what is projected to be yet another major storm that the experts are predicting could be a category 3 or 4 hurricane when it passes us Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
I am therefore calling on all citizens to take the necessary precautions to secure your families and properties so as to minimise losses and damage. We believe that as a result of the improvements and advancements that have been made to our housing stock, under the Labour Party Administration, most of you are in a better position to weather the storms. Nonetheless we must prepare ourselves.
Kindly ensure that you have sufficient stocks of food items, especially dry goods; limit the amount of perishable items to a minimum in the event that there are power outages; have batteries to power your radios and flashlights; secure adequate drinking water that is very critical during the passage of a hurricane. Secure your homes and vehicles; do not leave your vehicles in the ghauts considering that there might be flooding.
The representatives of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Meteorological Office will give details and updates on the Hurricane. The disaster managers in the respective districts who volunteer their services in the shelters should communicate with all concerned in advance of the hurricane. Take special care of the elderly, the sick, the women and children in our respective communities.
It is our hope that with the help of Almighty God we will be spared but we must ready ourselves. May God protect us with His omnipotent hand.”