Resort praises emergency services
January 3, 2014
Resort praises emergency services

Although the luxury hotel is already on full recovery, flash floods on Christmas Eve caused significant damage to the facilities at the Buccament Bay Resort.{{more}}

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, general manager Michael Ibrahim gave details of the damage sustained.

“I lost about 25 villas, complete damage; the spa, the gym, the kids’ club and the whole beach was gone. The bridge was breached. There are some villas that have water damage, but just on the surface,” Ibrahim said.

The general manager, who was on the island when Hurricane Tomas hit in October 2010, stated that the rain on the night of Christmas Eve was unlike anything that he has experienced in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I was running around, my shirt got wet, so I said that I would change it…so I got on my buggy and that did not even matter. The rain was coming from all directions, really heavy,” he recounted.

“I have seen St Vincent’s rain…I was here during Hurricane Tomas, but I’ve never seen rain like this”.

Recounting his experience on Christmas Eve, Ibrahim told SEARCHLIGHT that he was sitting on the couch in his villa after speaking with his wife on the phone, when his door suddenly burst open.

He said that he noticed the water coming and within seconds, all the furniture in the room began to float.

“It was eerie at that time, because I’ve never heard silence like this in my life. All you hear is the movement of the water,” Ibrahim said.

During the interview, Ibrahim expressed gratitude to the security staff at the resort, saying he had “huge respect for those guys,” as they were the ones who worked to get everything under control.

The manager indicated that within half an hour, everyone was evacuated from the villas and taken to higher ground.

“We started going house to house, evacuating our people, all to Jack’s restaurant, which is on higher ground,” he said.

“My security team and myself, we went to every single door.”

He said that the guests whose villas were not affected by the flood were allowed to return to their rooms the next morning, while the other guests were allowed to see what they could recover from their damaged villas.

Fortunately, the passports of all guests are usually stored by the hotel in a safe, so no one lost their travel documents.

Ibrahim bestowed praises on the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), the St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd (VINLEC), members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) and others who came to their assistance on the night of the incident.

“We called VINLEC and asked them to shut the power because I didn’t want anybody to get electrocuted. NEMO was fantastic. They came and they gave me a generator. They gave me a hundred blankets, they gave me flashlights and a few other things that I needed,” he revealed.

Ibrahim added that after the incident, his staff and persons in the community have been helpful in returning the resort to full operations. He said some guests even helped with some of the clean-up.

“I would say that right now, I’m receiving guests. I’m open for business. All my villas are operating…all my restaurants are up and running,” the manager said.(BK)