No lives lost in heavy flooding, PM thanks workers for cleaning up efforts

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Public Works, Hon. Dr. Earl Martin (second from left) along with Commander of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force, Lt. Col. Patrick Wallace (second from the right) were out early Sunday following heavy flooding.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 17TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says although no lives were lost during the recent heavy rains says the F.T. Williams Highway should be used to avoid overflowing ghauts.

During his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday, Dr. Douglas thanked persons in both the public and private sectors for their ongoing diligent work in cleaning up following the passage of Tropical Storm now Hurricane Rafael.

“People across the length and breadth of our islands have been talking – in amazement – about the amount of rain that has fallen. Far different from the heavy tropical rains that we are all used to, the skies seemed over the past three, four days to have an amazingly abundant supply of water to which there seemed to be no end. People who have lived 70, 80 years are saying that they have never seen this much rain,” said the Prime Minister.

Basseterre being cleaned up Tuesday morning

He said these are the kinds of climactic aberrations he takes such great pains to describe and detail in his exchanges with policy-makers beyond the region – those who need to have a sharper, clearer understanding of the human consequences of climate change, and the cost that small, non-polluting nations must repeatedly pay for the actions of heavily-industrialized, heavily-polluting nations.

“In the past few days alone, an omnibus, a van, and three private cars, as many of you might already know, were all overpowered by the rapidly flowing waters of Westbourne Ghaut. In addition, a St. Kitts Bottling Company truck was overtaken by the waters of West Farm Ghaut. Indeed, even the vehicle of a senior judicial official was caught in our raging waters. Thank heavens, no lives were lost. And we feel for those who had to endure the trauma that these type of experiences create. What the wide range of vehicles that were overtaken by these racing waters tells us, however, is that trying to cross raging watercourses is extremely risky business, and should really never be attempted,” suggested Prime Minister Douglas.

“We are often attempt to cross, however, for many reasons. Sometimes, the current just does not seem that strong. Or sometimes we see one or two cars pass successfully just ahead of us, and so we tell ourselves that it would therefore be safe for us to cross as well. What we often forget, however, is that the force of the water with which the cars ahead of us had to deal, may not be the force of water with which we will have to deal. In addition, there may be boulders or other dangerous, rushing debris in the waters heading in our direction which did not arrive in time to affect the cars ahead of us, but could very well spell disaster for us,” Dr. Douglas told listeners, adding:

Basseterre being cleaned up Tuesday morning

“All my life, I have been hearing stories about cars being washed away……..and of people actually losing their lives in the process. But whereas in the past people may have thought that they had no choice but to take these risks, today there is the F. T. Williams Highway which was constructed specifically to ensure that the public would no longer have to deal with the trauma of rushing ghaut waters. F. T. Williams goes over ghauts – not through them. Because we wanted the public to be able to get from one end of our country’s most heavily populated area to the other without anyone endangering their lives. And so, the F. T. Williams Highway was more than a public works project,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

He said it was and is a public safety and public protection resource in times of bad weather.

“I urge us all, therefore, to use this highway, and to use it safely and responsibly, so that the days of personal injury, personal trauma, and death as we attempt to get from one end of our capitol to another will, at last, be a thing of the past. So again, I am extremely grateful that there was no loss of life,” said Dr. Douglas, who also used the opportunity to extend a personal and special thank you to all those who have been working so diligently to clear the endless mud and debris that the weekend’s storm so suddenly left on the streets and throughout the neighbourhoods.

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