Government will always err on the side of caution when the safety of citizens is potentially at risk, a Minister has assured.
In fact, Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan is unperturbed by those who have criticised Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s haste to shutdown the country ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian.
“A Government has to err, whenever it errs on the side of the people who elected it, it is to protect us as a country. That is what we did. We positioned ourselves as a caring Government and we care not just for an island, but for the people and so when we are not sure, regardless of the criticism, we will always make a decision in the interest of human beings and the preservation of life and limb. We will always do that and I believe the Prime Minister made the correct decisions,” Jordan told Barbados TODAY.
“Reacting or working in these types of potential catastrophic situations requires leadership and leadership means that you may have to make decisions with a pretty quick impact time,” he added.
With Dorian expected to make landfall around 8 o’clock on Monday night, Prime Minister Mottley initially declared a national shutdown from midday. However after consulting with officials from the Barbados Meteorological Service, she brought forward the shutdown time by two hours.
The decision left dozens of last minute shoppers scrambling to purchase hurricane supplies and placed even more strain on those relying on public transportation.
After the storm passed with minimal impact, some Barbadians took to social media and local call-in programmes, criticising Mottley’s decision-making.
Jordan, the parliamentary representative for St. Peter, instead lauded the Prime Minister for showing “great leadership”, after observing Hurricane Maria, which strengthened significantly before slamming into Dominica in 2017.
“That system [Hurricane Maria] went from a Category One to Category Five in a very short time,” said Jordan as he observed a cleanup in his constituency.
“The other thing is that in spite of all the experiences, meteorology and prediction are still subject to human failing. It is not an exact science and whereas there are really good models that can tell you what is likely to happen, when a Government has been elected to serve a people and protect a people, then it has to err on the side of caution.”
Dismissing “armchair meteorologists”, he said Government was focused on protecting the lives of society’s most vulnerable.
“We may have had a system that passed without any rain or wind and if that had happened, people would have been saying ‘we shut the country down and nothing happened.’ To those people I say simply that we will ignore most of those comments because we have a responsibility to the greater population, especially those who are vulnerable and those who live in conditions where they can lose their houses at any time with a slight bit of wind. So we will always err on the side of protecting those people,” the Minister concluded.