STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER OF ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

THE HON. Dr. TIMOTHY HARRIS

On Monday, September 18, 2017

IN PREPARATION FOR THE

IMMINENT PASSAGE OF HURRICANE MARIA

 

My Fellow Citizens and Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis:

For the third time this month, we are faced with the challenge of an imminent hurricane. My cabinet is advised that Hurricane Maria is scheduled to begin affecting our federation later tonight, Monday, Sept. 18. A hurricane warning has been issued for our federation. We are further advised that although the centre of the hurricane should pass southeast of our country, we can still expect to be affected by hurricane-force winds for several hours. We should therefore exercise caution and step up our preparations to minimize any risk to ourselves, damage to property or loss of life.

In light of the approach of Hurricane Maria, I wish to advise the public that all independence activities scheduled for the rest of this week have been postponed.  As such, the three Independence Day activities that were scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, have been postponed until further notice. These events are our Independence Parade, the Toast to the Nation at Camp Springfield, and the Independence Cocktail Reception at Government House.

In preparation for the passage of Hurricane Maria, government offices closed at 2 p.m. today. All schools closed at noon after the Independence school treats. A number of private sector entities have also closed early in order for their employees to have adequate time to make the necessary preparations in advance of the storm.

The MET office has advised that our coastal areas are likely to be adversely affected by the storm.  As such, [people] living in low-lying and coastal areas are being advised to move to higher ground and perhaps seek shelter with relatives and friends for the duration of the storm.  Areas that are particularly vulnerable are Newtown and Irish Town Bay Roads, and the entire coastal zone that spans from Camps through to Sandy Point/Belle Tête. 

I wish to advise that in all communities one hurricane shelter will be opened in advance of the storm as a means of accommodating [people] whose housing conditions may be vulnerable.  However, in Districts four (4) and eight (8) there will be two centres opened:  in District four, the centres which will be opened are the community centres in Challengers and Old Road; in District eight, the Community Centres in St. Peter’s and Cayon will be opened.

I encourage [people] seeking shelter to do so with urgency NOW. Early action can save your life and that of others.

I am again appealing to all citizens and residents to heed all weather advisories and precaution tips that are being issued by our MET office and other official sources of hurricane information.  We also wish to advise ]people] to remain indoors once weather conditions begin to deteriorate.  Our security forces will remain on high alert to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and residents.

My fellow citizens and residents:  As Hurricane Maria approaches our federation, I implore you not to take our individual and collective safety and security for granted.  Do all that is necessary to protect yourself, your families and your properties.

Let us also be mindful of the need to be our brother’s keeper.  We must also look out for the interests of our vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly, our children and [people] with disabilities. Let us all offer up our nation to God.

May God keep His Divine Hand of Protection upon us.