Make an example of those miscreants at the Bog Walk Gorge
Bog Walk Gorge

The horror stories emanating from our neighbours to the north serve as reminder to Jamaicans of our good fortune as Hurricane Ian first passed south of this island in its developing stage before turning north and slamming into western Cuba as a full-blown hurricane on Tuesday.

By Wednesday, the storm had crossed over Cuba and hit the state of Florida in the south-eastern United States with devastating effect.

Reports on Thursday suggest that if anything the destruction in Florida caused by what's being described as one of the worst storms to hit the United States may turn out to be even worse than the calamity which was Cuba's fate.

Wind damage apart, storm surges and floods from heavy rain were apparently apocalyptic.

We note a warning from US President Joe Biden that there could be substantial loss of life.

Downgraded to a tropical storm after cutting through Florida, Ian was reported to have regained hurricane strength as it headed toward the Carolinas late Thursday.

In Cuba, casualty figures possibly considerable were uncertain Thursday but the storm is said to have devastated the tobacco industry, which is a huge foreign exchange earner for that country's struggling economy.

Jamaicans are relieved that they missed the worst but the costs from flooding as a result of the outer bands of Hurricane Ian are considerable and very likely to mount.

According to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, clearing roads blocked by flooding, fallen trees, and other debris could cost $360 million.

We note the prime minister's comment that "the cost of permanent repairs are being assessed and over the next two weeks I will update Parliament..."

Also, we wait to hear the estimated damage to agriculture.

There was no loss of life in Jamaica as a result of Ian, but over recent days a video being circulated has shown how easily there could have been, just because of reckless selfishness on the part of individuals believed to be public transport operators.

The video showed two men trying to break locks on the floodgate at the ever-dangerous Bog Walk Gorge. This was being attempted although the Rio Cobre was obviously in spate with water rushing over the Flat Bridge. This is a location where many have died over a period of centuries, after being carried away by the river.

It is precisely because of the need to prevent such tragedies that the floodgate was put in place.

Hence the outrage being expressed by Jamaicans, not least Mr Egeton Newman, president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services, who described the act captured on camera as "...stupid and dangerous..."

Mr Newman made the obvious case that had the men succeeded in breaking open the floodgate other motorists could have been lured into danger. And, that the culprits had put "the entire [transport] sector in disrepute and feeds into a situation where [it] is not respected by the general population..."

Mr Holness is among those calling for the two offenders to face the "full force of the law". That if only for its worth as an example to all should be treated as an absolute priority.

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