Samuda begs fishermen not to risk life in storm

September 29, 2016
Karl Samuda

Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda last night issued an impassioned plea for fisherfolk, especially those on the Cays, to evacuate in the event that a storm warning is issued by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica.

The Meteorological Service yesterday issued a severe weather alert for the country as Tropical Storm Matthew took aim at Jamaica.

"They should never assume that because it has not happened in the past that it won't happen now. We should never take that chance because getting it wrong could be very fatal ... To many they may feel it is not necessary, I am pleading with them to heed the warning," Samuda said.

Jamaicans, including fishermen, have reacted to storm warning by the authorities with disdain. Some have suggested that the Meteorological Service are in collusion with business operators to secure the sale of non-perishable and emergency items.

Samuda, last night, told THE STAR that it is important that fisherfolk take the appropriate steps to protect lives and limbs if and when a hurricane warning is issued.

"In the final analysis, your life is worth much more than any catch that you will get out of sea,so I would really plead with the fisherfolk, especially those of the Cays, to get to shores as quickly as possible," the minister added.

On the forecast track, the centre of Matthew will move away from the Windward Islands through this evening, and be over the eastern and central Caribbean Sea through tomorrow. The Meteorological Service said that Matthew could become a hurricane by tomorrow, and could be over Jamaica's territorial waters this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Public Service company has advised that in the event of outages, its teams will first need to make the necessary checks and assessment of damage to the electricity network before restoration efforts can get under way.

Winsome Callum, director of Corporate Communications, said that depending on the severity of the storm's impact and damage to the power delivery infrastructure, customers may be out of power for an extended period of time. "Weather conditions associated with the system are likely to include strong winds and rains. These may cause power lines to snap, trees to fall on power lines, and landslides which may cause poles to be dislocated," Callum said.

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