PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1, and Prime Minister William Marlin is urging the community of St. Maarten not to be complacent. Minister Marlin recalls the events of Hurricane Luis in September of 1995, and clearly states that hurricanes are no fun.
“Believe me, I speak from personal experience and from having to go through one of the worst hurricanes this island has ever seen some 22 years ago,” said Prime Minister Marlin.
As the Prime Minister mentions, on June 1, 1995, as the Atlantic Hurricane Season officially began, nobody could have predicted that St. Maarten would have been hit by a Category four monster called Luis, and no one could have stopped it either, as many of us were caught literally with our pants down. The Prime Minister further re-called how St. Maarten was not prepared physically nor mentally to spend months without running water, without electricity, schools closed, and supermarkets either looted or destroyed to the ground.
“There was nothing romantic about eating dinner with candle light, and there was nothing safe about using blue tarpaulins as roofs,” said Prime Minister Marlin.
Prime Minister William Marlin states in his 2017 hurricane message that St. Maarten have learnt some valuable lessons about hurricane preparedness, but feels we have, maybe because of the lull in recent years, begun to slip slowly back into complacency and inaction. The fact that the island has not been hit by a major storm in several years does not mean we should let our guards down. He strongly believes that our motto should be like that of the Boys Scouts: to be prepared at all times, and that the time to start planning is not June 1st when the hurricane season officially begins.
“In fact, recent history has shown that since 2014, we have been having storm systems forming in the Atlantic prior to June 1st, for example, the first named storm for 2017, Arlene, formed in April, which means planning should take place before June 1,” said Prime Minister Marlin.
All the government agencies charged with disaster preparedness are getting in high gear to make sure that, God forbid, should St. Maarten have to go through any storm during this season, everything will be in place to mitigate its effects as much as possible. Prime Minister Marlin is advising the citizens of St. Maarten to be prepared as best as they can, and pay keen attention to announcements from the Office of Disaster Management and other government agencies and follow their instructions whenever these are issued for your own safety and the safety of others.
“Our main priority is to avoid any loss of lives, so have a safe 2017 hurricane season, and may God spare us from all devastating storms and other natural disasters,” said Prime Minister Marlin.