POND ISLAND–Residents and businesses have called Prime Minister William Marlin to adopt the motto of the Boys Scouts and “to be prepared at all times” as the annual Atlantic Hurricane Season started yesterday, Thursday. “While government will do everything it can to assist in the case of disaster, government cannot do it alone,” he said.
“And no matter what the hurricane experts may forecast, all it takes is one bad storm to hit us or any of our neighbouring Caribbean islands for us to feel the devastating effects,” he said in his message about the season.
The time to start planning is not June 1, when the hurricane season officially begins. “In fact, recent history has shown that since 2014 we have been having storm systems forming in the Atlantic prior to June 1. This year, for example, the first named storm, Arlene, formed in April! The time for planning, therefore, should be before June 1,” Marlin said.
“But like charity, good preparedness begins at home. It is time to check your hurricane preparedness plan, starting with the roof of your house and or business to your personal and family hurricane kit as well as your insurance papers,” Marlin said.
“We tend to think that we have all the time in the world to get ready. The 48-hours advance warning of an approaching hurricane is not enough to stock up, fix our roofs, clear our yards of debris, etc., which are all part of the normal preparedness exercise,” he said.
For those who have not yet begun preparing for the hurricane season, Marlin said: “You need to start right now.”
All the government agencies charged with disaster preparedness are getting “in high gear” to make sure that should the country have to go through any storm during this season, everything will be in place to mitigate its effects as much as possible, Marlin said.
“Hurricanes are no fun. Believe me, I speak from personal experience and from having to go through one of the worst hurricanes this island has ever seen some 22 years ago. On June 1, 1995, as the Atlantic Hurricane Season officially began, nobody could have predicted that St. Maarten would have been hit by a Category 4 monster called Luis … We have come a long way since those days of anguish and pain,” he said.