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A scene during the fire drill.

 

CAY HILL--Learning Unlimited (LU) Preparatory School held its annual Emergency Fire/Disaster Drill exercise on Friday, September 13, in keeping with its position on disaster preparedness and preparation.

Minister Stuart Johnson (left) with TEATT Inspectorate head Lucien Wilson.

 

PHILIPSBURG--Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Inspectorate head Lucien Wilson recently presented TEATT Minister Stuart Johnson with a copy of the Maximum Price List 2019 Hurricane Items booklet.

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Stuart Johnson recently received a booklet on maximum prices for hurricane-related items (see related story). This is in principle a good thing, as it aims to prevent the kind of price-gouging that reportedly occurred in the aftermath of September 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The range of products, which includes groceries and construction materials, is rather broad and the businesses involved may have their own ideas about the listed prices. Of course, the relevant ministerial decree only goes into effect when a state of emergency is declared by local authorities.

That’s also a weakness in the system, because it doesn’t allow people preparing for a possible calamity much space to benefit from the price ceilings beforehand. The measure can nevertheless help make a difference during the early recovery when the need may be greatest and even carries a maximum fine of 10,000 Netherlands Antilles guilders for “wilful” violations, whatever that means.

But to present the 2019 booklet mid-September is a bit on the tardy side to say the least, as August and September are generally considered the most active months in terms of tropical weather systems. Something similar happened in 2018, as also pointed out in this column then.

Although government claims it had already made known its prices in various other publications, the booklet is being printed for a reason. The stated efforts to inform supermarkets, hardware stores and other parties concerned indicate how important this aspect is.

This year’s booklet obviously can’t be used for 2020 as prices do change, so hopefully the next one will be out in a timely fashion at the start of the hurricane season or at any rate before its peak. For now, it’s once again an apparent case of better late than never.

It turns out the US $240 million in financing offered for Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) by JPF/Vidanova does not include the estimated $80 million expansion with US pre-clearance as well as improvements to the apron and parking facilities (see page 9 of Friday paper). That impression was certainly created by PJIA shareholder representative Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Stuart Johnson in a press release about a recent presentation of the plans and subsequently during Wednesday’s weekly press briefing.

What the document implies is that buying out the bondholders would free up insurance monies now kept in security, which could then possibly be used for the addition. That’s a different story than what the public was originally made to believe.

In principle there is nothing wrong with entertaining alternative financing options for the reconstruction of the airport. However, this should have been done before commitments were already made at government-level regarding a grant from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank and a soft loan from the European Development Bank (EDB), for US $50 million each.

The presentation had thus been untimely to say the least, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was also completely in vain. Perhaps the same consortium could instead even consider financing just the US pre-clearance facility as a separate initiative and work alongside, rather against the existing project.

That would make everyone a winner.

...MOST THE HEAVY SQUALLS ARE OCCURING NORTH AND EAST OF THE

CENTER...

 Tropical Storm Humberto Intermediate Advisory Number 7A

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL      

800 AM EDT Sat Sep 14 2019

 

SUMMARY OF 800 AM EDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION

----------------------------------------------

LOCATION...26.6N 76.6W

ABOUT 30 MI...45 KM ENE OF GREAT ABACO ISLAND

ABOUT 145 MI...235 KM E OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 315 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES

  

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

--------------------

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

 None.

 

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

 

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

* Northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island

 

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

----------------------

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Humberto was located near latitude 26.6 North, longitude 76.6 West. Humberto is moving toward the northwest near 7 mph (11 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the north-northwest is expected by Sunday and a slower northward to northeastward motion is forecast to occur by Monday. On the forecast track, the system will gradually move away from the northwestern Bahamas later today, and then will move well offshore of the east coast of Florida this weekend and early next week.

 

Maximum sustained winds remain near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast, and Humberto is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday night.

 

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km) to the north and east of the center.

 

The estimated minimum central pressure just reported by an Air Force reconnaissance plane was 1004 mb (29.65 inches).

 

 

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

----------------------

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area in the northwestern Bahamas today. These winds should subside later today.

 

RAINFALL: Humberto is expected to produce the following total rainfall accumulations through Monday:

 

The Bahamas...2 to 4 inches, isolated maximum amounts 6 inches.

Portions of the Florida and Georgia coasts...1 to 2 inches.

 

STORM SURGE: Humberto is not expected to product significant storm surge in the northwestern Bahamas.

 

SURF:  Swells generated by Humberto are expected to increase and effect the coast from east-central Florida to South Carolina late this weekend and early next week. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

HAVANA, Cuba--Cubans queued for hours for public transport at peak times in Havana on Friday, sweating in the heavy heat, while queues at gas stations snaked several blocks long, as a fuel shortage that the government blames on U.S. sanctions began to bite.

WASHINGTON--A year ago, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell held a "remarkably positive outlook" for an economy enjoying a "historically rare" combination of good news including low unemployment, steady inflation and strong growth that were all expected to continue.

DETROIT/WASHINGTON--The United Auto Workers (UAW) said on Sunday that its roughly 48,000 hourly workers at General Motors Co facilities would go on strike as of midnight on Sunday after U.S. labour contract talks reached an impasse, the first nationwide strike at GM in 12 years.

LOS ANGELES--A documentary about alleged sexual abuse by Michael Jackson won an Emmy on Saturday while RuPaul was named best reality show host and Beyonce went home empty-handed.

BANGKOK--More than half of the tigers that Thai authorities confiscated in 2016 from an infamous Tiger Temple tourist attraction have died from a viral disease because their immune systems were weakened by inbreeding, media reported.

WASHINGTON--Top Democrats in Congress told Republican President Donald Trump on Sunday that any gun control legislation that falls short of universal background checks for gun sales “will not get the job done."

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Donald Trump rejected Democrats' calls for impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Sunday after a new report involving sexual misconduct allegations, encouraging Kavanaugh to sue for libel and suggesting the Justice Department could "rescue" him.



OUAGADOUGOU--West African leaders have pledged $1 billion to combat the spiralling threat of Islamist militancy in the region, the head of the regional ECOWAS bloc said on Saturday.

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the United States was "locked and loaded" for a potential response to the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, after a senior official in his administration said Iran was to blame.

Fun Makers blasted  A Stream Stars 8-5 in the continuing Futsal competition at L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium Sunday. In other matches 758 squeezed past Haiti 5-4, RISC Takers bested C&D Connection 4-2 and United Super Stars came from behind to defeat Flames United 4-3 after being down 2-0 at the break.

ITALY- - Honda's Marc Marquez took another significant stride towards his sixth MotoGP title by seizing victory in a last-lap duel at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday after missing out in his previous two races.

Dear Editor,

  So I opened up the Herald online to read updates pertaining to our island. Not the Bahamas. Us, in St Martin,
  I am sorry they suffered what they have. Truly I am. I suffered the same. I lost my house and my business. So many many of us did.
  Has St Martin forgotten what Hurricane Irma did to us? What little help we received?
Sorry, I never received more than a bottle of water after Irma tore off my brand new roof. I begged for water as I was breastfeeding my son. I needed the extra hydration. I was ignored. I will never forget how this island treated me after Irma.
  My brand new roof blew off, which the developer (Koozie Development) ran away from honouring a verbal guarantee that he would replace. Buyer beware from them with A&A Supplies. Very shady people … .
  As I sat under the bathroom sink with my 11-month-old child. My entire roof disappeared. I was told by his lawyer that “something hit the roof” again, a brand new roof. Buyer beware of this developer.
  Not one charity gave us a tarp for our roof as Maria rained on it and flooded my house.
  I will never give to a single charity on this island after struggling as a single mum rebuilding. Two years later I still rebuild.
  I don’t look like a charity case. I don’t present myself as a charity case. So to this date my family rebuilt with zero help from this island. Don’t you dare ask me for charity for others. How dare this island ignore us and now ask for handouts. Shameful. I am disgusted.

  You charity organisations should be ashamed of yourselves. Red Cross, I have words for you that cannot be published. Look within first. Where were you when I had no roof? Where were you when I needed help? Right … I don’t fit the charity “profile”. You charities, all of you, make me sick. I rebuilt from my own pocket. Now you want a penny from me to help others?

  I remember calling the police for help, I called the fire department for help. All they said was, “Am sorry we cannot help.” They gave all their handouts to their family. Rice, water, generators, etc. – all the donations worldwide. Where did they go? To their family. The police and fire department gave all donations to their family.
  I actually have a neighbour who bragged about her fire-fighting brother who gave her bags and bags of rice for life from China! She never even offered me a bowl of rice. Imagine that.
  Friendly Island …
  I have lost complete respect for the police and fire department on the Dutch side since Irma. They never helped the layman during hard times.

  Bring on the Dutchman, they also never helped. They will never help. They only help their own kind.
  I do believe that is called “bigotry” “racism”.

Mary De Francesco

Dear Queenie,

  My husband died about 10 years ago and now I am engaged to be married again. I am inviting all my friends and family to the wedding.

  I was always close to my late husband’s family, but having them there would remind me of him and kind of spoil the occasion.

  Queenie, do I have to invite them?—Widowed fiancée  

 

Dear Fiancée,

  If you are still close to your late husband’s family, they might be hurt if you do not invite them. On the other hand, the occasion might make them sad, so they might not want to come or would not enjoy themselves if they did.

  You might talk it over with some of them and see how they feel about watching you get married to someone else. Or you could just send them an announcement, and explain to them later why they were not invited.