No rush, but Tobagonians prepare


GETTING READY: A man repairs the roof of a house in Bon Accord Estate on Tuesday as he and many other Tobagonians prepared hours before the expected arrival of the tropical storm. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

While there was no rush, Tobagonians prepared for the possible effects of a tropical storm on Tuesday.

On Monday the Met Office issued an orange alert for the storm, with high risk of impact.

When Newsday visited the PennySavers Supermarket, shoppers were seen with candles, batteries, canned foods, pre-packaged soups, crackers, bread, water, toilet paper, soap and other household essentials.

At Viewport Supermarket, it was a similar scene, though one shopper, Georgia George-Perry, said “It’s month-end, so I am actually doing my regular monthly shopping.”

In the bread aisle, Lincoln Alexander said he lived alone and was just ensuring topping up on what he already had, which was customary.

PURCHASE: Lincoln Alexander buys bread at Viewport Supermarket in Scarborough, Tobago on Tuesday mere hours before landfall of the tropical storm. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

“I’m not panic-buying; I am doing my normal shopping. I live by myself, so I have groceries at home, so it’s just a top-up. For me personally, it’s not panic-buying.”

The supermarket’s general manager Melony Hunte agreed there was no panic at the supermarket.

“People are definitely picking up their supplies, collecting their crackers, candles, batteries and water – the basics. We’re seeing that people are preparing for the storm. Panic, no, but definitely getting ready.”

Across at Kash and Karry Hardware, very few people were seen buying last-minute items geared at reinforcing their homes, as the public was urged to secure their property to prevent damage or loss. But there was a rush for gas at the nearby Milford 24 gas station.

One driver. speaking anonymously. said he didn’t expect the line-up.

“I just left work heading home. and the intention was always to get some gas on my way. When I got close and I saw the line, it shocked me greatly. People are fulling up their tanks in the event, but in the event of what? It’s a tropical storm. Where do you really need to get out and go?”

There was also a rush at fish stalls. President of the All-Tobago Fishing Association Curtis Douglas said fishermen were bracing themselves.

“We can’t afford to lose anything this rounds. This is their livelihood.”

FILLING UP: Drivers fill their vehicles with fuel at the NP gas station in Bon Accord, Tobago on Tuesday. – David Reid

He added: “Fishermen have been advised to take the necessary precautions. Therefore, please ensure that your vessel is safely anchored to prevent damage or loss.”

A press release from the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development said the Buccoo Marine Park would be closed until Thursday.

“In light of the current storm watch advisory, no activities will be permitted within the marine park pending severe weather and oceanic conditions. Boaters are also advised to secure their vessels ashore to avoid damages during this period.”

DRILL IN HAND: Prabon Alleyne leaves Kash & Karry Hardware in Milford ROad, Canaan after purchasing a power drill which he said was needed to reinforce the roof of his home in Plymouth on Tuesday. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

A memo from the THA’s chief administrator Ethlyn John said all THA offices would be closed at noon “to facilitate the safety of staff during the tropical storm warning issued for TT.

It said emergency offices would stay open to assist the public.

The THA Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection said all primary care facilities would close at 1pm, and outpatient clinics were cancelled.

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) said it was taking the necessary steps, urging the population to conserve water.

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