Understanding the Law
April 21, 2011

No one ever thought that the Morne Garu river which flows through O’ Brien’s Valley, Chile and Georgetown would break its bank and cause so much havoc. Our parents never told of a disaster of this magnitude in their lifetime. There are no marks or signs indicating former breaks in the riverbanks.{{more}} Even though it was swollen on many occasions, it kept its course. The river was actually shrinking and was much smaller than our parents knew it. Persons had become so comfortable with the river that they had built houses very close to it. They were rudely awakened on Monday night, 11th of April, by the raging waters that came like a tsunami. It must have been a freak storm because it came in April, the heart of the dry season. A record amount of rain resulting from a trough in the area fell in the mountains, and the waters rushed down with great force. It was one occurrence that was least expected, so no one was prepared. Some persons who were caught in it had to face a wall of water that prevented them from even thinking of saving any of their possessions. We watched the tsunami in Japan on television where the raging waters of the sea swept all movable objects in its path. We never expected a swollen river to behave in this manner.

This is a time of extreme weather conditions and we have to be prepared. Oklahoma, Alabama and North Carolina (USA) have been swept by tornadoes from Thursday, 14th April, 2011, giving at least a moment of warning unlike the floodwaters of the several rivers with sources in the Morne Garu Mountains. The floods bring into sharp focus the upcoming hurricane season which starts on June 1st. It evokes the question: Are we prepared for an active hurricane season? We do not know what it would be like but we have to be prepared.


We would first be reminded of insurance. Do we have that well needed insurance on our homes? This is not an advertisement for insurance companies, but it is the reality of our situation. An under insured house is better than no insurance at all. A house is a lifetime investment and we cannot afford to see it blow away with the winds. We have no control over the winds but an insurance policy would help us to recoup.

Protective measures

You need to examine your house roof to make sure it is intact. This is the time to do all that is within your power to secure the house. Overhanging branches must be cut. This is a time, too, for you to consider your neighbours and to top those trees that may pose a danger to them.

You have to check the retaining walls to make sure they are not shaky. Get a mason to do some work to strengthen them if there are signs of weaknesses. Is the present drain capable of taking the waters away from the house? Mother nature is powerful and can whip up a great storm. Make sure you are not running your water on your neighbor’s property. She has no obligation to absorb your water. Be reasonable! Be considerate! Make the well-needed drain today. If you wait until the hurricane season comes, it might be too late. Well NEMO has its work cut out for it in preparing for the season with the dissemination of information and the preparation of shelters.

Hurricane Ivan pounded Grenada in 2004 and ten months later Hurricane Lily damaged it. We have to pray for a calm season.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com