Barbadians are being assured that the flood and storm threats have passed and the work of the National Emergency Operations Centre at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) is over for now.
Acting Prime Minister Dale Marshall informed a press briefing this morning that all roads were clear and flood waters in most areas had receded.
Marshall said he was happy with how Barbadians had survived the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk without death or serious injury.
“We have been very fortunate that there is no level of devastation . . . anywhere near a level of devastation. And therefore while we still have to be mindful of the possibility of flooding up to midday today, I think that it is fair to say that Barbados is in decent shape,” he said, adding it would take a little while to return to normal.
“I am able to say to you that most of the flooding that Barbados experienced has actually receded. A number of areas surrounding Bridgetown, Halls Road, River Road, London Bourne Towers, parts of the south coast, those areas are absolutely clear and those districts where there was significant flooding . . . has been reduced,” Marshall said.
He stated that perennial problems areas such as Holetown and Speightstown were clear. “The roads of Barbados are clear. There have been no reports of downed power lines. No reports of fallen trees and therefore the situation on the roads of Barbados is simply not so hazardous as would require any national shutdown.”
The Acting Prime Minister tied his comments to the decision to keep the public service open for business, considering that many Barbadians depended on access to the services today in order to survive the weekend financially.
He also said the decision to suspend the storm warning was a wise one so Barbadians could return to normal.
At the same time, Marshall stoutly defended the Government’s decision not to institute a national shutdown yesterday and today despite calls by some to do so.
“I am aware that a small number of Barbadians have been clamouring for what would effectively be a national shutdown. The fact of the matter is that at no time would it have warranted a national shutdown. A national shutdown would have resulted in the closure of the airport. It would mean that flights could not land . . . flights could not take off, our closure of the seaport, and only essential services would be available to Barbadians, and clearly the situation did not warrant that,” he contended.
Marshall said a guard wall at Government House fell during the flooding and immediately Barbados Defence Force soldiers were on the scene to add security to the official residence of the Governor General.
He said the debris that spilled onto the road has since been cleared and at no time was the Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at any risk.
Marshall was also quick to admit that his Government learned from how the country responded to the passage of the weather system.
“This has certainly been a test of our readiness and a test of our structures. We will certainly be conducting a review. I can say to you that there have been some weaknesses that were very evident. That being said though, there was a level of gallantry that was exhibited certainly by the BDF, the Fire Service and the Police Force in terms of rescue efforts. If there is one thing that this has shown us…we do have first-class capacity in those areas,” he added.
Marshall said those lessons learned would point authorities in the right direction in the future.
He thanked all the emergency service personnel and public officers who worked through the passage of Kirk to ensure that the country was prepared to deal with any impact and respond accordingly.
Acting Attorney General Edmund Hinkson, who shared the press briefing with Marshall, expressed gratitude that the country had been spared the worst of the storm.