As the country prepares for a tropical storm and the accompanying heavy rains and winds, one would hope that regional corporations, Government ministers and Members of Parliament are also ready to swing into action to ensure that those severely impacted by any adverse situation can get immediate help.
It is no secret that in several communities nationwide, floods happen even with normal rainfall and the streets of Port-of-Spain also flood following a mere five minutes of heavy rain. Add to that the traffic congestion on the nation’s roads that seems to have become the norm. Roads are always clogged during peak hours and should the experts' forecast materialise today, there could be chaos on the singular route that takes citizens out of the capital city to the east, central and south regions of Trinidad.
More importantly, though, is the mobilisation of resources that must occur if the worse happens.
How many regional corporations are really ready with emergency plans, evacuation shelters, transport, supplies and workers and machinery for deployment?
No one knows what will materialise over the next 48 hours.
On Sunday, Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi put the regional corporations, who are the first responders in natural disasters, on alert, with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) also supposedly waiting in the wings
We note that there is now a high-level team of ministers appointed by Cabinet to treat with responses to weather systems and we are happy to hear Minister Al-Rawi say the Government is taking this matter seriously.
Yesterday, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said they are also preparing for the worst.
In theory, this should mean all the emergency response teams are ready to act at full capacity immediately.
In everything, preparation is critical. Unfortunately, this country fails time and again to take advantage of the dry season to do some of the required desilting and clearing of drains and rivers that is required, which often results in floods no matter the rainfall.
In the past, citizens have gotten by on a prayer and a hope and the old adage that God is a Trini. Today, we face what could be the worse weather system to pass our way for some time and we hope that the preparation did not start just over the weekend with Minister Al-Rawi's promise but that the ODPM, regional corporations and the Government are really ready to rush to the help of communities that may be affected in a negative way should the country be hit by severe weather.
This is just the start of the hurricane season and as we face this bad weather over the next two days, we pray that the worst will pass us and that the most vulnerable will not be affected by any negative eventuality.
We also urge the authorities, in this crisis moment, to stop the politics and ensure there is even-handedness in the handling of whatever may lie ahead. At the end of the day, we must ensure that all hands are on deck so that the citizens of T&T who may need help are facilitated.