Skerrit called on everyone to be prepared. File photo

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has urged Dominicans to do what is needed to safeguard themselves in light of the pending passage of Hurricane Beryl.

The Prime Minister spoke to State-owned DBS on Friday night following his return from attending the 39th Heads of Caricom Meeting in Jamaica. He cited the country’s recent experience from Hurricane Maria and said that the National Emergency Organization (NEPO) and the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) will do everything possible to ensure the safety of all the citizens and residents.

“The ODM, they were on tonight and they advised us on a number of things, the NEPO that we should be doing, ought to be doing as individuals, as families, as residents in order to safeguard ourselves. To place ourselves in a safe area if the storm were to visit us,” Skerrit stated.

He said the Cabinet started the planning process long before the hurricane season started and Deputy Prime Minister Reginald Austrie held several meetings on Friday with various stakeholders to ensure that there were systems and preparations in place to “roll out all of the plans we have, the strategies we have in order to prepare the nation for this approaching hurricane.”

The Prime Minister did not offer details of the Cabinet’s plans to deal with the approaching storm but he did speak to the critical issue of the inadequacy of official hurricane shelters as expressed by the Ag. Local Government Commissioner, Glenroy Toussaint.

“ We have been able to identify a number of shelters in many communities and there have been private citizens who have made their homes available as hurricane shelters. At the end of the day, we have to look out for each other and we have to reach out to each other and each of us must ensure that we play our part in the safety of every citizen,”  Skerrit urged. “The State has a role to play but at the end of the day everyone of us – the churches, the NGO’s, the civil societies, the village councils, the various disaster committees in the respective villages, you know, we all have a part to play, the private sector – all have a part to play in placing the country in a safe situation if the storm were to visit.”

Hurricane Beryl, the 2018 season’s first hurricane, according to the 8.00 am forecast from the Met Office, is now packing 75 mph winds and is expected to reach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday either very near or over Dominica.