Hurricanes; Drive for Caribbean Unity

The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) once again were spared the full force of hurricane Felix. It was again somewhat of a near miss. Our islands are lucky. We seem to always escape. Felix, which grew to a category five storm as it churned through the Caribbean, has made landfall in Central America. It can’t ‘near miss’ the whole American continent…

Now, a hurricane is an act of God, of course. But people can do something about it. We can build our houses in such a way that they can withstand a hurricane. People used to do that more than these days. We’ve seen old wooden houses and shacks dating from the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, still standing proudly in St. Martin, for instance. No hurricane ever caused any major damage to them, whereas modern buildings crash like match-sticks under the weight of a good hurricane.

So we can do something about it …

The fact that our region is hit by hurricanes every year, could drive us together to do what we can to prevent damage and loss of life. Both politically and economically, hurricanes as a negative can be turned into a positive – to a certain extent – by seizing the opportunity instead of gazing at the devastation. Governments of the Caribbean can set up a Pan-Caribbean hurricane aid agency. Instead of maintaining tiny military armies (Who needs soldiers in the Caribbean? Against whom are we going to fight?), we could train an army of ‘Caribbean hurricane aid workers’, to be deployed rapidly all over the Caribbean, whenever a hurricane is likely to hit any one of our islands.

Secondly, we could set up a ‘Caribbean hurricane industry’, specializing in the production of goods needed to prevent, minimize and/or remedy hurricane damage. There is sure to be demand for the products of such an industry, because the truth is that the hurricanes do hit every year. Insurance companies might be persuaded to invest in such an industry and governments could support the industry by buying its products. This could be a Caribbean industry, supplying the Caribbean. We can also import the goods, of course, as we usually do. It is, as always, up to us.

The point is …

The point is that we Caribbeans should stop sitting on our hands and start finding ways to come together where cooperation would be mutually beneficial. We know that for now we are speaking to deaf ears. Our politicians are too corrupt to think about these kinds of things and our business leaders lack the insight and will to straighten the politicians. So they ‘join in the game’.

We live in societies of dependency. So when the Act of God strikes, it strikes. And we grant, we cannot stop Nature being Nature. But we can think, plan and control to a certain extent. There is no reason to do nothing and just lament our fate. It’s our mindset, stupid!

Our daily video gives an impression of Felix’s near miss on Bonaire, ARCO’s beloved home island.