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Address by Prime Minister to the Nation on Tropical Depression #13 on Monday, September 23, 2002

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Address by Prime Minister to the Nation on Tropical Depression #13 on Monday, September 23, 2002

Fellow St. Lucians,

As you will have known by now, a tropical storm watch is now in effect for St. Lucia. It’s therefore that time again when we have to activate our hurricane preparedness mechanisms throughout the country.

Following the announcement of the first advisory for Tropical Depression No 13 last night, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) met at the Office of the Prime Minister, under my Chairmanship. The status of each sub-committee of NEMO was reviewed and I directed that all disaster committees be activated with immediate effect.

I am happy to report that some committees actually began meeting last night, some as early as 6: am today, some one hour later and even as I speak, some meetings are already over as the relevant committees have sprung into action.

Given the approaching tropical depression, NEMO advised and the government has directed that all schools remain closed today, until further notice. In addition, the following measures have been put in place:

• All police officers have had their leave cancelled and were to have reported to their respective police stations by 6: am today. The same stands for all fire officers, who are to report to their respective stations as of now.
• All fishermen are asked to remain in port and to pull their boats ashore and small craft are urged to remain near port.
• Residents in coastal and marine areas, as well as marine interests; are asked to exercise caution.
• Residents in areas prone to flooding and landslides are asked to exercise extreme caution.

As you will already have heard on the radio and TV, the system is estimated to begin to affect St. Lucia around midday. As I said last night, that does not give us much time.

The system is expected to produce substantial rain and there could be flooding in some areas. All of St. Lucia must be on full alert, but I am particularly concerned about Anse La Raye, Dennery and Vieux Fort – particularly the Bruceville and Bacadere areas. Therefore, additional measures have had to be put in place specifically for these areas. I have also directed the Commissioner of Police to station more officers in Anse La Raye and Dennery to assist citizens should it become necessary.

All citizens are asked to undertake the usual stocking-up of food, medicine and batteries, etc and to ensure the normal hurricane preparedness precautions are in place.

Meanwhile, residents of Anse La Raye, Dennery and Vieux Fort, in particular, are urged to follow the advice of their various respective disaster committees.

I know that in the past we have been warned, we have taken measures and we were spared. Therefore, some of us will probably take this current warning lightly. However, I appeal to you: please don’t treat this as just another warning. Take this and every other warning very, very seriously. That’s because, as we very well know, nothing can be as unpredictable as the weather.

I urge all, once again, to stick to your radio and TV and follow the various advisories, the next of which is due at 11am, after an aircraft will have flown into the system to make more accurate and precise estimates on its strength and location.

May God Bless Us All.


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