Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit. (FILE)
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ROSEAU – Dominica has taken a “precautionary” action and sent its public sector workers home “immediately” as the island prepares for the passage of Tropical Storm Dorian later on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in a broadcast said that while “we do not believe that there is any major threat or any threat to the country . . . for us the safety of our citizens is always paramount”.
Dominica was hit by Hurricane Maria in 2017 resulting in the deaths of more than 30 people and millions of dollars in damages to its infrastructure.
Skerrit said that he was calling also on the private sector to follow the lead of the government and send home their workers “because we do not want a situation where any persons or groups of individuals are unable to make it home because of rivers overflowing their banks, or possibly landslides”.
“So this is just a precautionary action which the Cabinet has taken. So we urge people to drive home safely and to be very cautious as you travel along the roadways taking into consideration the possibilities of fallen rocks, mud slides and also swollen rivers.”
He said he wanted citizens to continue monitoring the official channels of information on the storm “and I pray that the God Lord will guide us through this afternoon and this evening”.
He reiterated that the government is aware of the vulnerabilities “of some parts of the country and we felt it necessary to take this precautionary decision”.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that heavy rains and gusty winds were still affecting the northern Windward Islands and Southern Leeward Islands.
But in its latest bulletin, the NHC said that Dorian was now 60 miles west north west of St Lucia with maximum winds of 50 miles per hour.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, Saba and St Eustatius.
The NHC said that Dorian is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph and this motion is expected to continue through tonight, followed by a turn towards the northwest on Wednesday.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Dorian will move across the eastern and northeastern Caribbean Sea during the next few days, passing near or south of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, move near or over eastern Hispaniola Wednesday night, and move north of Hispaniola on Thursday.
“On Thursday night and Friday, the centre of Dorian is forecast to move near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas,” the NHC said, adding that slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
“Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it moves close to Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola,” it added. (CMC)