PHILIPSBURG:— To the people of Sint Maarten and guests visiting our shores, as Prime Minister of this wonderful and resilient Country and Chairlady of Emergency Operation Center (EOC) I would like to take a minute to remind you that the peak of the Hurricane season is upon us!
We all remember Hurricane Luis that hit St. Maarten on Sept 5th, 1995 and 22 years later, approaching almost a year, Hurricane Irma devastated our island on September 6th 2017. As the first week of September is approaching which seems to be a time when the most powerful hurricanes hit St. Maarten, let us take this time to scale up preparations for the peak of the Hurricane Season.
As Prime Minister, I urge you to take all the necessary precautionary and preventative actions in order to be prepared, for any system that may develop. Actions such as, but not limited to the following:
1) Ensure you have your Hurricane & Emergency Package; you are advised to have 1 gallon per person per day of drinking water and enough water for cooking and sanitary purposes to last 1 week for the household.
2) Stock up on canned goods and ensure that you purchase the necessary materials to protect your home/residence/property and/or life. It is month end now and I would highly recommend that persons purchase some extra hurricane items to ensure that you are able to feed your family in the unfortunate event that we experience a storm.
3) Ensure that you refill all your Medical Prescriptions and have enough medication for at least 1-2 weeks preferably.
4) Make sure that you are properly insured and you have reviewed your insurance policy. Please check to see if your policy is based on the current value to avoid the “Under-Insurance” problem currently being experienced by many in the community.
5) Additionally, please have enough cash on hand and put it in a safe location where you won’t spend it but be able to have it on hand if necessary. Please don’t wait until the last minute as supermarkets and hardware stores most likely will be sold out.
6) On the topic of Safety, I am calling on all the owners of Containers, that are parked and/or placed near or on the public roads, to have them removed now! This is an extremely dangerous situation, containers can block roads and depending on the strength of the winds these containers may become airborne and potentially pose a threat to persons in the community.
7) We all should take the necessary measures to secure and prevent any debris from being a danger to others and their surroundings. Flying debris, structures that are under construction and/or having wooden frames that are exposed, need to be taken down to avoid these structures from becoming flying objects.
In closing, if history is supposed to be our guide and an instrument that we should learn from, we should avoid making the same mistakes of the past. The goal of the Government of Sint Maarten in these times, is to ensure that our community is well informed, prepared, protected and safe against the unpredictable elements of nature. To this end, early preparation is key and fundamental so Let us be pro-active, let us be prepared and let us establish these objectives as our priority.
Thank you for your attention and May God Bless our Sint Maarten land and keep it safe.