There was very much of an atmosphere of calm among Barbadians Tuesday, despite the overcast skies and occasional showers associated with Tropical Storm Don.
The signs of calm were everywhere, even before the Barbados Meteorological Services discontinued the tropical storm watch as of 2 p.m.
Missing Tuesday was the mad rush for storm supplies or the haste to batten down the hatches.
In fact, at the Bridgetown Fishing Complex where the several fishing boats from the south of the island were docked, the criticism was that the watch came too late, although the boat owners had been securing their vessels throughout the night and into the morning.
Anthony Brathwaite, a fisherman of 40 years, complained that large fishing fleets had left yesterday, only to hurriedly return to shore this morning after the announcement was made.
“There were boats that left yesterday not knowing about this weather and when they got out there [to sea] they had to come back in this morning. That is not good enough,” he said.
However, Brathwaite was not deterred by the cloudy skies, as he was confident that Tropical Storm Don, which was only 35 miles out at the time, was not a threat and that fisherman were just waiting for the all clear.
“The storm is a small storm and the circumference isn’t big . . . . It can’t reach in here. . . . I don’t think we’re going to feel the effect much,” Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY.
As a fisherman who has survived three tropical storms and a tropical depression, he was neither worried nor alarmed about the increased hurricane activity expected for the season.
“There is nothing now to frighten me. I went out there [to sea] for 28 days, had 14 days without water and food and I wasn’t scared,” he disclosed.
With the fisherfolk adopting a wait and see approach, the attention turned to the supermarkets where, for the most part, the situation was similar.
Store Manager at Carlton A1 Supermarket Edwin Holder referred to it as a normal shopping day, as a few customers picked up odd items at the Black Rock, St Michael store.
“Bajans just wait and see. Not that they don’t prepare, but they are wising up to see what is happening and what can happen. They are just being cautious and just waiting to make sure what is really happening, then you will see the rush,” Holder said of the absence of the last-minute rush ahead of an impending storm.
“I believe that they wait until they really know for sure that something is going on then you will see a rush. They would pick up the last minute essentials no matter what the cost.”
At Carter’s General Stores in Wildey, St Michael Store Manager Alan Goodman told Barbados TODAY Barbadians had learnt from their experiences and were educating themselves on hurricane preparedness.
Consequently, instead of a mad rush for items, shoppers were stocking up throughout the season, he said.
“We have discovered that Barbadians have been educating themselves and watching a lot more. Bajans are still taking their precautions. We haven’t seen any rush . . . . It depends on how serious and how strong the storm is. I think that is how Barbadians will react.”
Retired banker Granville Estwick has experienced his share of storms, and said he was always prepared for disasters.
Speaking from the check-out at People’s Market in Eagle Hall, St Michael, Estwick said he thought Barbadians did not live in fear of natural disasters.
Instead, they seemed more relaxed and prepared to wait out the storm, he said.
For 71-year-old Velma Babb, there was little sense in waiting until there was news of an approaching storm to go shopping.
She said it was much better to stock up in anticipation of the hurricane season.
“I don’t like that every year it comes and nothing happens and it passes us and go, people talk foolishness about they make them buy up this and they make them buy up that. I don’t think it calls for all of that, and I don’t think they should wait for anything to happen for them to go and shop . . . . I don’t feel that every year you hear about a hurricane you have to go and run and buy a lamp,” the senior citizen said.