Thursday 21 September, 2017

Antiguan PM praises country's readiness for minimal Hurricane damage

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne

The Antiguan Prime Minister is today praising the country's Hurricane preparation for their ability to weather the strongest storm in the region in a decade. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Gaston Browne Antigua has weathered the most powerful hurricane ever to storm its way through the Caribbean.

"And we have done so with stunning results. The forecast was that Antigua would be devastated, our infrastructure demolished, people killed and our economy destroyed. In the light of day, the picture is very different. In Antigua, no life has been lost – all the people survived. The guests in our hotels are all well. Even our animals were protected from this massive storm," he said. 

Browne said the people of Antigua should be very proud of the part that each of them played in our impressive story of readiness and resilience.

"I dare to say that no other country in the Caribbean would have been as well prepared as we were. People heeded the warnings of my government to treat Hurricane Irma with absolute seriousness, and everyone did. Properties were properly shuttered and protected, and neighbours and friends opened their homes to less fortunate persons to shelter through the long night. There was a chain of brotherhood and sisterhood that strengthened our collective resolve.

"The work that the government initiated in advance of the storm paid remarkable dividends. The drains, gutters and reservoirs that were cleared in advance ensured that the island experienced no flooding, hence eliminating the possibility of water-borne disease. While there has been property damage, it is not anywhere near the horrendous injury that was feared.The essential point is that our main infrastructure has stood-up and our country can resume normal life within hours," he said.

Browne said with regards to Barbuda, preliminary reports indicate damage to roofs and to some buildings, but he has had no report of any fatalities.

"Barbuda too benefitted from a high level of readiness, responsive to the urgings of the government and from the preparations that were made in advance, including the shelter constructed for that purpose."

The Prime Minister said he was able to drive through many areas of Antigua since 5.30 this morning and intends to visit Barbuda at the earliest opportunity to see conditions on the island.

The Antiguan airport will be open for flights into and out by 2 pm today.