Below is a statement by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on the closing of school and suspension of work in the public service as Hurricane Irma draws closer to the islands.
Fellow Dominicans and residents, as you are aware, for the past week or so, we have been following the movements of what was Tropical Storm Irma out in the Atlantic moving towards the Caribbean Islands.
Today Irma is a major category five hurricane with one hundred and seventy-five miles per hour, with its center only two hundred and forty miles east of Dominica.
We are relieved that it doesn’t appear that Dominica will see any hurricane conditions, but given the size of Irma and its proximity to Dominica, we have been placed under a Tropical Storm Warning, which means that we can see tropical storm conditions later today.
We have therefore decided to take the following courses of action out of an abundance of caution and concern for our people; schools should be closed immediately for today and tomorrow Wednesday there shall be no school. Work will be suspended from twelve noon for the public service and we are encouraging the private sector to also close operations from twelve noon today. Persons who work in essential services should report to work as normal.
We want to urge fishermen to use their next hours to secure all gear and not to venture out today.
Shelter Managers should arrange to have shelters open for persons who need to use those shelters from about 11:00 am today.
Coastal residents and residents close to rivers and other waterways are asked to remain alert and if the situation warrants moving, please do so early.
We want to call on all residents to complete all preparedness activities and remain indoors this afternoon into tonight as much as possible unless you have duties to perform.
Our thought and prayers are with the people of Antigua and other islands north of Dominica, and we hope that they will pull through without any damage.
Our thought and prayers are also with our people here in Dominica, as we pray and hope that our people and our country will be safe.
We continue to pray for God’s guidance and protection on our homeland and may God bless Dominica and our people as we prepare for Tropical Storm Irma.
Again, we want to urge all our residents and citizens to take all precautionary measures. We do not know precisely what Tropical Storm Irma will do to Dominica and therefore we need to be prepared to the fullest.
Do not take anything for granted as we have in recent memory experienced the ravages of a tropical storm. this is a massive hurricane as we have been advised and though we may not be affected by hurricane conditions, we are now on a Tropical Storm Warning, which means we will get some impact, but our hope and prayer is that we will be spared.
I want to again call on us to be prepared to the fullest, ensure that each of our families, our communities, are secured and we have all the essential items at our residence, and as we continue to pray for no impact on Dominica but we have to be prepared.
I thank you for listening to me and we will continue to provide the country with updates through the Office of Disaster Management as we monitor the movements of Tropical Storm Irma, and of course, Hurricane Irma which is now a category five hurricane with sustained winds at one hundred and seventy-five miles per hour, and two hundred and forty miles east of our country Dominica.
I thank you, may God bless our country and protect us from Tropical Storm Irma.