Express Editorial : Daily

AS the days pass and some access to Abaco and Grand Bahama has become possible, it is heartbreakingly evident that the toast of Caribbean tourism, that idyllic dreamland of all-inclusive resorts, casinos, cruise ships and lovably turquoise waters, has taken a severe hit from Hurricane Dorian.

Fortunately spared have been the more tourism-oriented islands of the Bahamian chain, including New Providence, site of the capital Nassau.

Some of the best-known resorts in the 700-island chain, like Atlantis, Paradise Island, were unscathed by the monster storm that parked itself over the vulnerable islands for more than 18 hours.

The Bahamas depends heavily on tourism, which supplies half their annual gross domestic product of US$5.7 billion, according to the Bahamas Investment Authority.

Trying to find its feet and the bodies of citizens and undocumented migrants, particularly those thousands from Haiti who sought relief in Abaco and Grand Bahama, Bahamian authorities face the difficult task of encouraging tourists to visit and spend on its spared islands while searching for people in its affected parts.

“All of the donations are welcome, but they can also, very much, assist us by still visiting the islands of the Bahamas in the unaffected areas. They are open for business,” said Ellison Thompson, deputy director general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, to the Associated Press.

Trinidad and Tobago has and no doubt will continue to join Caricom and other neighbours in mustering relief and other supplies for the stricken Bahamian people.

Provision of aid should be guided by the list of 22 immediate priority items issued by the Bahamas Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Once emergency conditions have been alleviated, the Bahamas will continue to need help and to merit attention, including investment, for its redevelopment needs.

Trinidad and Tobago, situated at the far southern end of the Caribbean, has ordinarily been spared hurricane ravages suffered by sister islands higher up the chain.

That it has fortunately worked out this way for this country is no reassurance for the future.

The past happenstance of nature, heightened now by the uncertainties of climate change, should open eyes and minds about unexpected environmental turns of events.

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Susceptible to floods and landslides over the normal course of climatic happenings, this country should no longer indulge any sense of blessedness.

In the 1960s, Tobago took a heavy Hurricane Flora hit, from which agriculture has probably never recovered.

The more recent hurricane wipeout of marinas to the north of us has enabled a yachting industry in Chaguaramas waters.

Climate change, a freak-out experience for the Arctic and many more locations around the globe, should not be expected to spare Trinidad and Tobago.

The Bahamian ordeal should, if nothing else, raise consciousness of the fearsome new prospects and environmental possibilities being faced the world over.

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