ARGUABLY, Saint Lucia has been spared the destruction from this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season’s deadly hurricanes. Many are already positing that such luck has nothing to do with Divine Intervention but, rather, scientific probabilities: that the storms will, of course, hit where they have to.
By far, Barbuda, St. Maarten, Turk & Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica are the territories that have so far suffered the brunt of the season’s fury. In many instances, even the prospects of starting over seems futile, especially since what immediately meets the eye following these instances of loss seems hopeless.
A massive region-wide relief effort is now underway to provide relief to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria – an uphill task that is presented with new challenges each passing day. Nevertheless, pressing on even in the face of disasters – natural and man-made — has become characteristic of the Caribbean for centuries.
As these hurricanes continue to impress upon the region increasingly just how ferocious they can be, it would stand to reason that a new way of not only thinking but adapting our environment to mitigate the propensity for such loss and damage be adopted. Whether or not we wish to admit it, climate change is real – to the extent that even the White House finally seems to be considering the idea that it does after all.
Here in Saint Lucia, our ingenuity as far as adapting to climate change must begin to show itself in a more focused and in-your-face way. For instance, it was not uncommon to see inches of water along the Castries Waterfront over the past few days, having been splashed from the Caribbean Sea during high tide and rough winds.
One would have thought that by now a seawall encircling the area from the Vendors’ Arcade to Lion’s Park would have been constructed. Even Banannes Bay would need such a seawall. Major buildings and populations are on the outskirts of that shoreline and every ounce of prevention should be taken to safeguard them from being breached.
Also, while the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) would have made it a duty as of late to institute a regular unclogging of drains in the city, there needs to be a stringent policy enforced to deal with the perennial problem of littering. By extension, such measures should be adopted nationally, if only to serve notice that the authorities truly are serious about stamping out the problem by committing the time and resources to the cause.
For now, Saint Lucians might be counting themselves lucky, and for good reason. As with anything else, one can only expect to be thankful for being spared from any danger. But even though disasters will strike, we must understand that failing to do what we must often imperils us. That is why it is so important that as we all teach our regional brothers and sisters just how generous we are in coming to their aid, that we can learn a thing or two from their unfortunate situations.