CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has warned that last year’s hurricanes Irma and Maria could be “a hint at what the future holds.”
The SG was speaking at the opening of a meeting with the heads of various institutions within the Community at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown on Monday. He said the long-term forecasts for climatic activity in the region are much more foreboding as the effects of climate change become more pronounced.
The Caribbean top diplomat said, “We are in a race against time to protect the people, the environment and our countries. Strategic efforts must be harnessed to build resilience in the Region.” The Secretary-General also referred to the foresight of the Community’s five-year Strategic Plan which focused on building resilience – environmentally, technologically, socially and economically.
The meeting was aimed at strengthening the coordination among the Institutions and the Secretariat as the Community builds resilience to encounter the new normal of more intense and frequent climatic activity.
Last week, Commonwealth Secretary-General the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland urged Caribbean leaders to be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.
According to reports, the season officially runs from June 1 to November 30. The Caribbean and the Atlantic region generally experience few or no storms during the first two months of the season. Data shows that the latter portion of the season is regarded as the most active. The most active months are September and October. The SG noted reports of freak storms over in Jamaica and a few other Commonwealth countries recently is “regrettably an echo of what started last year.”
Last September, two Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the region during a two-week period in decimating decades of development gains in Dominica, Barbuda – the sister island of Antigua, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Anguilla. The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis and Haiti also suffered damage. Other Caribbean Islands, notably St. Maarten, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were also significantly impacted.
By Alexis Rodney