Dear Editor: Effective inclement weather policies will address inconsistent national responses and save lives

EPL Infrafred Sauna

“[…] If it was unsafe for schools to stay open, why were the non-essential businesses allowed to stay open with the workers exposed to the same risk?

“[…] We must consider whether these weather alerts are reaching the population—especially in rural areas—and are they being understood? […]”

The following Letter to the Editor on the perceived need for “inclement weather policies” in Trinidad and Tobago was submitted to Wired868 by Leisha S Dhoray MBA, BSc, ABE, PMP:

Photo: Students walk through flood water outside City Gate in Port of Spain.
(Copyright Flickr)

The heavy rainfall, severe flooding and mass chaos that took place in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday and Thursday of this week should make it abundantly clear that proper policies need to be put in place to deal with inclement weather.

At the top of the list, we need a proper policy for the closure of schools and businesses. The announcement made by the Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly shortly after 7am on Thursday that all schools would be closed for the day, showed a genuine lack of consideration and foresight.

Several students, parents and teachers would have already put themselves at risk by bracing the harsh weather to reach to school. Closing the schools forced them to return home in the inclement weather, and exposed them to even more risk. It might have been safer to allow those who were already in school, to stay in school by keeping the schools open.

It begs the question, if it was unsafe for schools to stay open, why were the non-essential businesses allowed to stay open with the workers exposed to the same risk?

Photo: Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
(Copyright TTPS)

Having online education and work from home policies for inclement weather would have prevented a loss of productivity, while safeguarding our students, parents, teachers and workers. However, with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley commenting at a post-budget media conference a few weeks ago, “we’re not ready for a major work-from-home policy because some people not even working in the office”, it seems dubious that T&T will be implementing a work-from-home policy in the near future.

Proactive communication policies are also a must. It was devastating to hear that a 44 year old woman, Ms Theresa Lynch, lost her life when she fell into, and got washed away by a flooded river in Lopinot on Wednesday morning. It is extremely unfortunate that the severity of the Adverse Weather Alert which was in place from Wednesday to Friday did not hit home for Ms Lynch, as it clearly stated: Do not wade or drive through flood waters.”.

We must consider whether these weather alerts are reaching the population—especially in rural areas—and are they being understood? If regular advisories were broadcast on mass media on Wednesday and Thursday, they would have certainly helped to protect people and property during the inclement weather, and maybe Ms Lynch would still be with us today.

Photo: Residents move through the flooded Greenvale community in 2018.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/ Wired868)

T&T must face the challenges which climate change has brought to our shores head on, by implementing effective inclement weather policies promptly!

The heavy rainfall, severe flooding, and unprecedented property damages and loss of life experienced this week must serve as our wakeup call.

More from Wired868
Vaneisa: Education Minister’s casual cruelty on high temperatures burns

Cruel has to be the word to describe the response of Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly to the question of how Read more

Daly Bread: Contrasts of moonlight and misery; the trouble with Manzanilla-Mayaro

In November 2022, part of the Manzanilla-Mayaro road—the once scenic route along the east coast “through the coconuts”—collapsed.  Part of Read more

Noble: Living in La-La Land; watching life through “red and yellow-tinted glasses”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines la-la land as “a euphoric, dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life”. In Read more

Orin: Time to leave Port of Spain—the case for decentralisation or flexi-schedules

“[…] We need to move some work out of the city to ease the traffic choke hold on this island Read more

Vaneisa: “I’d never have believed the volume if I’d not seen it myself”—my war with African snails

Not since an army of bachacs stripped every leaf off a red-leaf ficus and a bird pepper plant overnight about Read more

Vaneisa: Suffering for silence, with missing fireworks legislation and EMA inactivity

Nearly 80 per cent of the people responding to a survey done by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) said fireworks Read more

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

Vaneisa: It’s no wonder that citizens feel disrespected and disregarded

Situations can inch up stealthily, creeping up so insidiously that we cannot pinpoint the moment …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.