Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced yesterday that the island would be engaged in a national preparation exercise once the current hurricane season ends in November.
“Once this season is done there will be a major national preparation exercise. We are not waiting until next June because these things are affecting too many people and in ways that are substantive,” she said, adding that a simulation exercise could be rolled out in early 2019 for affected communities.
Mottley proposed the move after assessing first hand the impact of heavy rains generated by the remnants of Tropical Storm Kirk in the hard-hit communities of Bayland and Chapman Lane, St Michael; Wotton, Christ Church; and Ruby Tenantry, St Philip.
She stressed that residents had to be better prepared and educated on how to cope and respond after being impacted.
“If we don’t take care of each other in preparing for this then what happened in other jurisdictions will cause too many people regrettably to die. Most people don’t die from the water itself they die from the consequences of it,” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister also raised concern about the abundance of garbage, noting that it was a major contributor to the widespread flooding.
She suggested that the national clean-up, Many Hands, which was launched in Brittons’s Hill on September 15 , would have to be conducted four times a year to improve the situation.
“We need to just get it right and it is not beyond our capacity to get it right as a people . . .
If we wait to every quarter it will always be different than if we do it every month,” she contended.
She appealed to Barbadians to join the clean-up efforts to protect the environment and enhance their own safety.
“We have to get the country to a point where people must take responsibility for around themselves,” the Prime Minister added.
Yesterday Mottley was accompanied by Attorney General Dale Marshall; Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid; Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson; Minister of Housing George Payne; Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey; Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic; Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs Senator Lucille Moe; Director of the Department of Emergency Management Kerry Hinds and Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force Colonel Glyne Grannum.