This is article number 13 and if you are superstitious you have only two choices; lucky for some or unlucky for others. This is the very situation regarding the passage of Hurricane Matthew, and the discussions and recriminations following a near miss. Depending on your level of responsibility there are so many responses that take absolutely no account of a near miss after sounding an alarm.
Here are a few scenarios from other situations:
These two scenarios require decisions by people who by the nature of their jobs are entrusted with the responsibility for making decisions under certain probable threatening circumstances, and often where the lives of others are under potential threat.
The very same is true of probable but unpredictable events that are placed under the responsibility of a few persons. Here are a few of those:
These are just a few of the scenarios out of a possible several million that confront government, business, and persons, when faced with unpredictable circumstances. In our case, weather forecasting is at best a fairly educated guess, and is no more certain than predicting accurate electoral results based on polls with narrow margins and a +- 3% error margin.
So get real Jamaicans. Someone has to make calls and if they fail to do so and the worst happens, who will take the blame? It surely won’t be the naysayers who sit like spectators in the stadium and later analyze why we lost and why the coach must be fired. This is the very nature of the amorphous thing we call leadership and responsible leadership.
The Government, the Private Sector, and the Relief Agencies have taken a most responsible approach for the mobilization of resources that are necessary for the preservation of life and assets, (and we always say: people are our most important assets). Such is the nature of Mission and Vision Statements, and the 2030 Vision. Any non-decision that imperils these would be irresponsible and indictable acts.
Your Granny told you that “coward man keep sound bones”, and it was great advice. Regrettably, Granny may have passed and the wisdom of the ages is discounted in favour of rumours, false advice, and political criticism that is totally unwarranted. Memory is a significant part of Disaster Preparedness and if you have not had a practical experience then you may not believe the danger. Here are a few personal facts:
We all vowed- never again. “Seeing was believing” and we all recognized that this should never happen again. Several measures were put in place as a result over the years and these are just a few:
But how old were you in Gilbert? You would have to be nearly 30, and probably 45 to have a real memory. So when Hurricane Ivan hit Jamaica we were again ill-prepared as most young persons refused to think that there was a real threat. Southern Clarendon was badly hit and didn’t get water until a spare tanker was sent by GraceKennedy, but it seems that places like Portland Cottage have simply forgotten.
Most persons in their critical utterances are either unaware of, ignorant of, have convenient memory losses, or simply may wish to score cheap political points. Human life and safety must be treated appropriately by all responsible persons without regard for race, religion, gender, age, or political affiliation. These are characteristics of a civilized nation.
Responsibility and risk minimization is the province of leaders and it is not a debatable proposition.
We (in a rare exhibition of caring for others or in a “fit of Christian compassion”) should be preparing to give relief to Haiti and Cuba. We should also be prepared to lobby with all the big and rich nations that reneged on their commitment to rebuild Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Our neighbours are living in tents and flimsy structures on an island that is almost totally denuded of trees and vegetation, without shelter, medicine, and human comfort of any kind except for a few missionaries.
So let us get out of our sanctimonious praying for ourselves and put out a hand to help others as we would hope others would help us. Sounds very biblical, Commandments style doesn’t it? Perhaps in the year the Mother Theresa achieved Saint Status we could reflect on the less fortunate.
Let us place ourselves in a position to assist with the alleviation of disasters in other countries especially our neighbours in Haiti, the DR, Cuba, the Bahamas, and others who may not have escaped the wrath of Matthew.
That is our responsibility.