September 10, 2004
Time to rebuild

After several decades of luck, the land of the blessed, as we oft times refer to this country, finally took a hit from a hurricane as “Ivan The Terrible” passed by our shores unleashing its fury on this corner of paradise.
That we have not suffered loss of life is something we must all give praises to the Almighty for. However we have suffered the loss of many house roofs and our agriculture and tourism have taken a massive hit. {{more}} The estimated losses could run into several million dollars. Though costly, we can bounce back from this adversity. But at this time our prayers and solidarity must be with our neighbours in Grenada. Our Grenadian brothers and sisters have paid the ultimate price with the tragic loss of nine of their own from this direct hit of this storm which bore down on them with winds upwards of 140 MPH. Today we say a prayer for them.
While several weeks ago we warned that the threat of a storm which passed by and caused the flooding and subsequent closure of the E.T. Joshua Airport should have been seen as a dry run, it seems that Vincentians finally took a hurricane seriously. And not a moment too late.
From early on the National Emergency Management Office had been issuing regular warnings urging preparedness. Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Howie Prince ensured that the message was reaching the population to the point where his voice must be one of the more recognizable these days. Prince and his offices’ efforts were complemented by an equally energetic and hands-on chairman in Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves whom one suspects relished the responsiblity of marshalling his troops to face what seemed like a certain battle with “Ivan The Terrible’s” forces.
From early Monday afternoon businesses could be seen installing storm shutters even as many of the population busied themselves shopping. Yes, this time around, Vincentians were forgetting our fabled blessedness and were heeding this very real threat.
During the actual storm the radio stations, with the notable exception of one commercial station kept the nation informed and comforted throughout the solitude of the night and day. Particular kudos and thanks to the staff of NBC Radio which showed the way as a true national station. The dynamic staff of Hitz FM too must be commended for their efforts and initiative during this storm. Our media workers did us proud at a time when we needed them to shoulder their responsibility. In fact, our local stations played a key role in informing and giving comfort to many Grenadians during their darker and scariest moments after their own stations had lost power.
The pluses were many; the negatives were few. We today salute all those workers in the essential services who shouldered their tasks and are even today assisting in getting our nation back on its feet.
In times like this, our faith in God, our caring for each other, and our resolve to be each other’s keeper transcend all the usual petty perceived differences. Together we will rebuild what we have lost.