IN today’s Tribune, we publish our annual Hurricane Guide – and in view of last year’s damage from Hurricane Dorian, we hope it will serve as a reminder to readers to be prepared.
We often put off our preparations for hurricane season. When a storm appears on the horizon, we rush to the store to stock up on the things we suddenly realise we need.
But Hurricane Dorian hit The Bahamas hard – and we’re still feeling its impact, even for those of us who didn’t have family or friends on Abaco or Grand Bahama. Even for those of us who didn’t spend days waiting to get back in contact with people we love.
The cost of restoring the storm-hit islands to their former glory is a huge bill for The Bahamas, one which we’ll all have to pay. The human cost, with hundreds remaining missing after the storm, is so much higher.
So as you read today’s Hurricane Guide, bear in mind the damage we suffered last September, and make your preparations in advance. A little each month can build up a good disaster kit – a flashlight on one shopping trip, batteries on another, a first aid kit even if you hope you never need it.
Then there are the bigger steps – why wait to buy wood to board up windows if you can stock up ahead of time and not have to worry about stock running out if a storm comes close?
Hurricane Dorian showed the ferocity of storms, so also plan ahead of time with your family for an escape plan.
Look around your home and your community and ask yourself if the worst happened, what would you do to get to safety?
Keep the shelter list somewhere safe. Identify your nearest one, and plan the safest route to it if the roads were filled with flood water.
You can prepare for a hurricane one step at a time, and build up your supplies. Not being prepared for a hurricane? That’s a matter of life and death. Be safe. Be prepared.
Another skipped convention?
Brent Symonette has suggested it might not be appropriate for the FNM to have a convention this year.
With the after-effects of Hurricane Dorian, and the current effects of COVID-19, he said he “would have thought it was not appropriate” to have a convention this year.
According to the FNM’s constitution, the party should have a convention every two years. However, it has not had one since 2016.
Mr Symonette points out that there have been “many occasions in the past” when the FNM has not had the convention its constitution called for – but a wrong is not made right by repetition.
A convention should not be something for a political party to fear. Some parties might be hesitant about the potential for leadership challenges – but again if a leader is strong, that should help pull the party around them. It’s only a problem if a leader fears they are weak.
Conventions are about more than the top of the party too – they are about the grassroots. They are about listening to the needs of party members on the ground, all the more important for those on Family Islands who might lack the ear of leadership on a daily basis.
They are also about that one thing the FNM spoke so much about in the election campaign – transparency.
A convention shows the world what the party thinks is important – and in the run-up to an election, could there be a more important time?
And lastly, if a party consistently breaks its own rules, it doesn’t create a great deal of trust for the voter. Change the rules, by all means, but don’t break them. And in the meantime, hold a convention. It might be different. It might require using technology in inventive ways for health and safety. But hold it, and show the country what the party is all about.