Ernesto spares St Lucia!

NEMO director Dawn French has taken the
better-to-be-safe-than-sorry approach.

St Lucia was spared the full brunt of Tropical Storm Ernesto on Friday as the fifth named storm of the season eased past the Lesser Antilles and moved into the Caribbean Sea. Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, who is expected back on island today, took no chances by ordering a complete shutdown of the country until 12:00 pm Friday.
Scores of St Lucians made their way to the supermarket and Mega J on Thursday as Tropical Storm Ernesto made its way over the island.
Director of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMO), Dawn French says she is happy with the way in which
St Lucians responded to the storm. She says despite the fact that we were spared, it is better to have reacted in a form of preparedness without losing lives rather than become delinquent and something catastrophic occur.
“My concern will always be about the safety of lives and not the making of a dollar. Though I understand the complaints of some business owners that they are only going to get a half day, I would rather we have half a day of work than any lives lost. We lost seven lives in Hurricane Tomas and that was seven lives too many, so I will always err on the side of caution and support my Prime Minister when he takes the decision to save the lives of this country,” said French.
The all clear advisory was given at 12 by the authorities. While most St Lucians remained indoors, it was business as usual for a few including some business owners and market vendors who all said they did not think the system would have been serious.
One market vendor told this reporter that the authorities blew the news way out of proportion.
“I think they are just over-exaggerating about the weather. There is no rain and wind. I need to make my money so that is why I came out. If things change for the worse, then I will head home but for now, I need to feed my family,” said the vendor.
A few hardware stores remained open to cater for the late shoppers who may need a few materials to prepare adequately for the storm. The storekeeper at Starlite says St Lucians are known for last minute shopping and it was for that reason they decided to ignore the order of the PM.
“My home is not safe as much as I would say the store is, therefore, I believe in any event, I would have been safer at the store than my home should something bad happen,” he said.
As we went to press, Director of NEMO reported no severe damages or injuries related to Tropical Storm Ernesto. She further advised that we are still in the Hurricane season and all precautionary measures must be taken at all times to safeguard lives and property.
“By all indications, we can say that we have been spared. This system is set to become a hurricane later. On its projected path, all of the models are showing that it is headed for Jamaica. We don’t know what classification of hurricane it will be yet. Our prayers will have to shift from us to our brothers and sisters in the other islands. We have always advised people to do shopping in a timely fashion but there are some of us who are just last minute people regardless of what it is we do. We would always expect people to be in the supermarkets at the last minute so we are advising people to just keep their stock separately from their normal stock because we have a long way to go before the end of the hurricane season which is in November.”
Ernesto developed over the Atlantic Ocean late Thursday afternoon.

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