Wednesday, March 22, 2006 – St. Lucia will join member countries of the
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Thursday March 23rd , for the
observance of World Meteorological Day.
Since its establishment 56 years ago, the WMO has provided support for a number
of programmes and initiatives, that directly benefit local and regional efforts
at preventing and mitigating natural disasters. Incidentally, the theme chosen
for this year's observance is ‘Preventing and mitigating natural disasters’.
In a national address to mark the observance, Minister with responsibility for
Meteorological Services in St. Lucia Honorable Felix Finisterre, said the level
of tropical cyclone activity during recent hurricane seasons and the severity of
individual hurricanes, necessitate a national wake-up call. He said the effects
of global warming and climate change, will most likely present a host of new
challenges in the future.
“It is an indisputable fact that natural disasters contribute to socio-economic
decline. It is also a well-known fact that small island developing states such
as ours are even extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and hazards and that
their impact on our social and economic growth can be utterly devastating. The
continuing struggle of our sister island Grenada, to recover from the
destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan is a prime example. We in St. Lucia have
suffered serious damage from a number of natural hazards and disasters over the
years,” he added.
He said the socio-economic distress that resulted from the disasters in the
Caribbean over the years, “must serve as lessons and impel us as a nation to
develop effective strategies to prevent and mitigate against future events of a
In this regard, Government through the Ministry of Communications, Works,
Transport and Public Utilities have supported and implemented a number of
disaster prevention and mitigation measures. “We have strengthened the capacity
of our Met Service by upgrading and strengthening the staffing structure as well
as the provision of specialised equipment to ensure continuity of our Met
services irrespective of weather conditions. We continue to provide leadership
and support to NEMO in the implementation of its programmes,” Finisterre said.
He added that the ongoing flood mitigation works in Castries and Anse la Raye,
the coastal protection works at the Dennery Waterfront and the upgrading of the
island’s road network are part of government's disaster prevention and
The Minister applauded the staff of St. Lucia's Meteorological Services for
their excellent service to St. Lucia over the years.