Monday, May 20th

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Editorial - Collective responsibility

A tropical wave in the Atlantic that had some potential for development (see Saturday paper) is no longer being mentioned as such in the forecasts. That is good news, but certainly no reason to become complacent.

As the end of July nears so does the usually most intensive part of the hurricane season, which is from August to mid-October. The latter period is approaching more quickly than many may realise.

What's more, increased activity in the form of weather systems may be expected in the coming days and weeks. Any significant precipitation they bring is no doubt welcome after a prolonged dry spell, but also could have an impact on whatever preparations are still to be completed.

At the end of last week contractors and home builders were called on to have a plan in place for securing their jobsites. Particularly materials such as plywood, shingles and zinc can turn into dangerous projectiles in case of strong winds.

In today's edition residents are requested to prioritise the clearing of their surroundings during the last two weeks of the annual Hurricane Cleanup Campaign. Experience has shown that loose-lying objects can clog rainwater runoff systems but also, for example, block access of emergency vehicles trying to rescue residents.

The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, the Environment and Infrastructure VROMI has been doing its part with the completion of the floodgates, cleaning of primary trenches, preparing the Great Bay channel and storing a backup diesel supply for the pumps at Great Salt Pond. However, if too much trash and rubble gets into drains, gullies and ditches during heavy rainfall, the result probably will be severe flash floods with all their possible consequences.

Time to procrastinate is ending fast. It's simply a known fact that "The Friendly Island" is part of the so-called hurricane belt and has experienced its share of devastating storms, a reality its population needs to keep in mind.

Damage cannot always be prevented altogether, but preparedness is often the key to mitigating such and to facilitating the recovery effort. Above all, it's a matter of collective responsibility.