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Second look

Gercine Carter

Second look

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Government may be revisiting the issue of availability of property insurance for chattel houses in Barbados.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said yesterday preliminary reports to him from the emergency services suggested that well over 1 000 houses in Barbados would have sustained serious damage in last weekend’s Tropical Storm Tomas, which later became a hurricane, and he envisaged Government  was “going to have to do some spending” to assist homeowners.
He expressed the view that insurance companies ought to be giving greater consideration to people with chattel houses,  given their vulnerability and – in light of the cost to Government – to assist such homeowners in times of natural disasters.
It was a subject which he said successive governments had broached, and he intended to revisit.
Speaking at the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) George Street headquarters hours before meeting with the Parliamentary group late yesterday afternoon “to gather information so that we can co-ordinate with the Department of Emergency Management”, Stuart said “Obviously there is going to be some outlay in respect of trying to get the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation on the road”.
“We are going to have to do some spending. We do not want people’s lives to be in a state of dislocation indefinitely, so we have to try with swiftness to try and get things back together.”
The  Prime Minister also disclosed that he had already received offers of assistance from Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding and from Tilman Thomas, Prime Minister  of Grenada.
Stuart warned Barbadians that Tomas was “a wake-up call”, adding he was “flabbergasted” by some of the destruction he had seen.
“Having regard to the fact that this was just a Category 1, I can’t begin to imagine what would have happened to Barbados had this been a Category 2 or 3 hurricane.
“I think we have been spared so often in recent times that there was a creeping tendency to be complacent and believe it could not happen here.”