Disappointment in Matthew's no-show is the pinnacle of stupidity

October 07, 2016
An elderly man who was in hospital before Hurricane Matthew hit, is carried back home in a hammock in Baracoa, Cuba on Thursday. The man who was released from the hospital was carried back to his home by hand because the roads have been made impassible by the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, blocking all motor vehicle traffic to the area.

I am always amazed by the fact that no matter how many times I think that the people in this country can't possibly surprise me anymore, they just up and prove me wrong. So last weekend, people were scrambling, getting ready for what was expected to be a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane called Matthew.

I was among those who went out and spent thousands of dollars on batteries, non-perishable food supplies, water, flashlights, candles, mosquito coils, and plywood.

But after waiting for 72 hours for Matthew to arrive, it never did. It stopped and then slowly changed direction, subsequently slamming into our neighbours to the east, Haiti.

There, the deluge of rain and 140mph winds killed more than a hundred people. It has since wreaked havoc in Cuba, The Bahamas and was on its way to Florida at the time of penning this piece.

Meanwhile, back here in Jamaica, people are complaining about the Met Office, which they say, overreacted and got it wrong that the storm was going to hit Jamaica.

Others say they spent money they didn't have, preparing for a disaster that didn't happen. One letter writer to the Jamaica Observer described the staff at the Met Office as a "pack of jokers".

My question to these people is, would you rather had have the hurricane wreck Jamaica for you to feel better about the money you spent preparing?

Every weather service on the planet - based on the data they had available - agreed that Jamaica and Haiti were under direct threat from the powerful hurricane.

Crews from news networks from the eastern seaboard of the USA as well as the meteorological services flew to Jamaica to report on the disaster they expected to unfold on these shores. I guess they are all a pack of jokers, too.

Nobody expected the storm to do what it did. I watched an extended broadcast out of the USA, where two experts had mapped about six or seven possible routes that Matthew could take, and four of them went right through Jamaica.

With all that, instead of being grateful the hurricane had other ideas, and being thankful we had prepared given the damage that has been inflicted on Haiti and Cuba, some of us are cussing that the storm didn't come.

You can't even describe the reaction from these people as being ignorant because the only way to aptly describe it is 'stupid' - and not even the regular stupid. This is the pinnacle of stupidity, a sign that we are still on a path of dumbing down the country to a level where no one ever imagined it could descend to.

Do these people realise that had the storm hit as it was expected to, many lives could have been lost, people's property would have been destroyed, and even more important, the work put in by the People's National Party and the now government of the Jamaica Labour Party to reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio would have gone up in smoke?

We would have been forced to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to get the country's crumbling infrastructure back up and running, and that spend would have set us back many years.

So yes, you spent some money preparing for a potential disaster that thankfully, didn't happen, but the bigger picture is that as a nation, we dodged a major bullet.

The food and water you bought can still be consumed over time. The candles will be there for you when you need them as will the flashlights. The coils can be used every day to protect you from the annoying mosquitoes, and the ply can be put aside for another time.

Be thankful that we didn't have to use them as we waited for the country to be repaired from unmitigated disaster. We lost three days of commerce, and that is a small price to pay when compared to what could have been.

It's time to stop being stupid and use the brains you were given.

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