Member of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce Past Presidents Advisory Committee Joe Issa, has expressed deep sadness for the loss of lives and property in The Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, even as he praised God for sparing the lives of Jamaicans residing or holidaying there at the time.
In an interview, Issa was quick to blame global warming for the fiercer hurricanes seen in the Caribbean in recent years, saying warmer oceans are acting as fuel for bad weather systems to turn into Category 5 hurricanes.
Noting the unusual movement of Hurricane Dorian, Issa said “it behaved in a manner that has rarely been seen before: first it developed from Category 1 to Category 5 in quick time, and then remained motionless over The Bahamas for days, pumping it with more and more rain and packing higher wind speeds and tidal surges.”
Issa, who is also a Eucharistic Minister of the Roman Catholic Church in Ocho Rios, said he is “saddened by the many who lost family members, friends and property” and is “optimistic that their lives will get back to normal in the shortest possible time.”
Noting the positive intervention by Jamaica in response to the crisis in The Bahamas, Issa said: “the local security forces and other agencies involved made our country proud by successfully executing Jamaica’s responsibility as the regional focal point for disasters in the northern part of the Caribbean.”
Issa was responding to Observer news which cited Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that 21 Jamaicans, who sought refuge from hurricane-ravaged Great Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas, have been evacuated.
Noting thousands of Jamaicans have lived and worked in The Bahamas, Holness reportedly said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) had been updated on their situation following the heavy damage done by Hurricane Dorian.
“Thankfully there have been no reports of deaths of Jamaicans as a result of Hurricane Dorian. However, 31 Jamaicans have requested evacuation from the Great Abaco Island, and 21 have been evacuated and housed,” he was quoted as stating.
Holness reportedly said he has been in contact with Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, who has expressed that it is “an extremely difficult period for the people of The Bahamas”.
“Indeed, with the regularity of global events like of this magnitude, now more than ever, we have to be our brother’s keeper,” he reportedly added.
Holness also noted that Jamaica, as a member of CARICOM, has responsibility as the regional focal point for the North-Western Caribbean, including Haiti, Belize, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
He said that Jamaica has offered practical help to The Bahamas, and a number of key Jamaican agencies are a part of the hurricane response, according to the Observer.