As Grenada continues to look back on the passage of Tropical Storm, Bret in the early hours of Tuesday, the advisories issued by the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) is now the subject of national debate.
The advisory sent out by NaDMA giving the green light for school to reopen amidst heavy rainfall islandwide has sparked many negative comments on the popular Social Media platform, Facebook.
Minister with Responsibility for Disaster Management, Senator Winston Garraway was heard on a local TV station on Tuesday morning announcing that schools and businesses are to be re-opened as per usual.
“I wanna say to the nation that it is normal working day. So you go back out to work and of course, schools will open as per usual and we are expecting as Grenadians to (come) out and continue to do what we have been doing”, he said.
The Social Media contributors ripped into Sen. Garraway in light of the heavy and constant rainfall in the immediate aftermath of Bret’s passage.
Many of the social media commentators felt that the authorities should not have given the all-clear for children to return to the classroom given the heavy rainfall islandwide.
“The weather is not good for children to go to school”, said one comment while another stated, “Thank God we are away from Bret but this weather is not for Kids, and another offered the following: “So the schools that are being used for shelter, I’m sure there are people still in there, due to the rain they can’t get out so why should we send our kids to school”.
Some of the other comments on Facebook read: “Hey, too much rain. How the people gonna get through with work and other daily doings, “It is really not a good day for the children to attend school; it’s raining so much and “That is not weather for children”.
“Hmm…They should put the day off. There is no water and the weather is not good for children at all, “The system is expected to bring lots of rain which means landslides are expected. Airport opening 10 a.m. but school opening 8…I believe that’s premature”.
Other comments offered by Facebook enthusiasts were the following: “I could understand businesses opening but not schools, “School, are you people serious? What about the rain that’s falling and the areas prone to flooding where schools are located, like Grenville?, “This minister and them crazy…he ain’t see the weather outside…talking about businesses and schools as usual”.
“Buses are not running as normal. What’s going on? I really think we should keep the children home just for precaution, “I strongly believe schools should be closed today, “The road is dead still, not a bus moving and the weather is not conducive to have young children in, “…Normal school in this weather? My daughter class does get wet with little rain imagine this amount and there is still no water.
“Well I want to know what’s going on with the authority or who in charge of these areas. How can children go out to school when rain falling bucket ah drops? No one can leave the house, children have to go out the road for bus and look at the time, come on people do better than that.
“Tell me who in their good mind gonna send children to school. “Sick people”, “Darling, it isn’t umbrella weather. You tell me you are happy to send a child out in the weather we are getting in St. Andrew right now.
Despite, the announcement of the re-opening of schools by Sen. Garraway, a number of private schools had taken the decision to keep their doors closed.
THE NEW TODAY understands that before Midday on Tuesday most government and church-assisted schools were sending children home as rain continued to fall heavily.
Additionally, the state-controlled National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) had put out an advisory that it would be turning off all water mains.
The reports islandwide suggested little damage to homes but some roads became dangerous for motor vehicle traffic as heavy running water from the river overflowed their banks.
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) advised motorists to avoid the Balthazar main road as the water rose above the bridge.
Director of Operations at the NaDMA, Kemron DuFont said, “We had very little damage. You had some trees that fell on power lines and in some areas there is no electricity. But more or less, the impact was very, very minimal”.
The storm was the first since the June 1 official start of the Atlantic hurricane season and came on the heels of the out-of-season Tropical Storm Arlene which formed over the central Atlantic Ocean in April.
It produced up to four inches of rain over the Windward Islands and the northeastern coast of Venezuela.