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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Flag and map and edited information from Wikipedia

The nation of Barbados is 21 miles long and up to 14 miles wide, with an area of 166 sq miles. It is in the western area of the North Atlantic and 62 miles east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea. Closest nations are St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. Hurricanes usually miss Barbados.

The British moved in and took over in 1624, and more or less moved out in 1966. Barbados remains a country as a British colony. Which means they play cricket.

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The emotional trauma of Hurricane Irma

Outside the Road Town Ferry Terminal where several passengers wait to board the ferry to Virgin Gorda, a loud slew of characteristically Caribbean expletives instantly mutes all other conversations.

They come from a man whose shabby dress suggests that he lives on the fringes of society.

The 22-year-old woman to whom the swear words are directed responds in kind unaware that the man is well known to have a history of mental illness.

The unidentified woman is further enraged as an older man scolds her for her response, while seemingly ignoring the provocation. She grabs a broom and has to be restrained as she threatens violence against the man who started the melee and the older gentleman that intervened.

The development comes as people wait for an opportunity to travel to Virgin Gorda to check on their loved ones amidst a telecommunication blackout as a result of the monster storm, Hurricane Irma that swept through the territory last week, leaving at least four dead, destroyed or severely damaged 60 to 80 per cent of buildings and knocked out the electricity distribution network.

The woman, who does not want her name mentioned, later tells the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the hurricane destroyed both of her houses. She has not heard from her fiancé and other relatives in Virgin Gorda for a week and is hoping to take the ferry to check up on them.

The woman maintains that her aggression has nothing to do with the pressures brought on by Hurricane Irma, although in the same conversation, she speaks about her fellow citizens being too violent and self-centred and the storm being a wakeup call.

A few minutes later, she exits the queue boarding the ferry and burst into tears. “This is too much for me,” she tells CMC.

The woman’s aggression and subsequent crying illustrates the psychosocial damage, an often-overlooked impact of natural disasters and other catastrophic events on Caribbean nationals.

“Specifically as it relates to Hurricane Irma, one of the things we have to realise is that this hurricane was a catastrophic event, and catastrophic from the perspective that there’s a significant amount of losses that persons experienced and it’s losses of life as they know it, losses related to personal property, losses related to changes in what we see around us,” says psychiatrist, Dr. June Samuel.

She tells CMC that the impact of the hurricane “has a broad scope,” explaining that in the face of the losses that resulted from Hurricane Irma, persons have new stresses related to meeting their basis needs of food, clothing and shelter.

“And once you have human beings essentially in survival mode trying to meet their basic needs, they will start to have responses which are similar to your fight and flight response.”

Dr Samuel notes that during the first two weeks after a catastrophic event like Irma, persons have acute stress response, manifested in difficulty sleeping, a lot of anxiety, panic episodes, and having general anxiety symptoms.

She warns if this continues past the first two weeks, there can be situations where persons get into a post-traumatic stress response, adding that the response would vary, deepening on the individual’s level of resilience and coping skills.

“… so if persons have come here primarily to work or come to any island primarily to work and they don’t have that extended family support, they are going to be more at risk for experiencing these responses,” Dr Samuel noted, a worrying reality for the BVI, where 60 per cent of the population are expatriates.

Dr Samuels says anger, aggression, and irritability are part of the response that can be expected from persons immediately after a traumatic experience such as Irma, which one 69-year-old resident told CMC was the worst hurricane he has experienced in the territory.

“And that is why it is so important that in handling the whole recovery response, we ensure that people are reassured and that there is evidence of order, that these needs — basic needs — will be met while we go through the rest of the recovery.”

Mental health professionals encourage people who have experiences such a high level of loss seek help to deal with the trauma of their experiences.

“Being in the hurricane itself and having personally experienced it, it was a traumatic event because for most people who were in the hurricane, at some point, you felt as if you could have died,” Dr. Samuel says, adding that it is important that persons get counselling and have places and spaces in which they can talk about their experiences.

“They should also get help in managing the emotions they may be feeling because people are going to be feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, persons should be allowed to talk about what they are feeling, cry if they need to cry.”

Dr Samuel notes that in the Caribbean, people are sometimes reluctant to go for counselling, but points out that receiving counselling might not be a priority for storm victims who are trying to survive and meet their basic needs.

“So we need to make sure that we set up in our response ways that people have access to or counselling is made available to persons,” she says, adding that counselling can be provided in disaster shelters and work places and for students when they return to school.

But she says that mental well-being is also linked to physical well-being, and that persons should ensure that they get adequate rest and eat properly and regularly, even as she noted that stress could reduce one’s appetite.

“But eating is important, resting is important,” Dr Samuels said, urging storm victims to ensure that they have a group that they can be in contact with so that they can talk and feel supported.

However, even persons who suffered no physical injuries or whose properties suffered negligible damage in the storm have felt overwhelmed by their experiences.

They included a woman who tells CMC that while the only impact on her house was some flooding, she was feeling stressed out by her experience during the hurricane.

“But I was able to have a counselling session with [a doctor], along with two other persons and it really helped me in terms of looking at it differently, basically accepting what is and trying to put a positive spin on it going forward. So, after leaving the meeting, I felt more relaxed,” said the woman, who asked not to be named because her job does not allow her to speak to the media.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, virtually everyone who spoke about his or her experience at some point said, “Thank God I am alive.”

Gregory Smith, a Trinidad-born pastor who has been shepherding the congregation at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Virgin Gorda for the past eight years, said that islanders are still in shock after experiencing the hurricane.

“A lot of people are saying this is unreal, this is not happening. They are still in shock as to what exactly happened,” he says, adding that in the weeks to come, the reality will come home to many residents, some of whom moved to the BVI as many as 30 years ago.

“They have lost all their possessions; some of them have built homes here, they have lost their homes, there are no jobs so all of these things are going to have to be considered as we move forward,” says Smith, who has been living in the BVI for 19 years.

Smith tells CMC that religion is playing a role in helping people to cope.

“A lot of people are reaching out, a lot of people are asking for prayer… A lot of people are looking to us, the pastors, for a little guidance, a little counselling, etc,” he said, adding that he has been making a special effort to reach out to people who are helping in the recovery.

“They are asking everybody how they’re doing, but nobody is asking them how they are doing. So, I have been talking to them, I have been talking to the people, we are doing our best.”

The pastor’s comments have been borne by Sharleen S. DaBrea, the director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), who noted that some her staff were beginning to buckle under the emotional strain of seeing their work place destroyed and having to respond to the disaster from a temporary location.

“I’m having some challenges now with them because many of them are actually breaking down,” she said, adding that the physical demands of the response effort is also a contributing factor.

“We have some younger ones, I believe the hydration issues are now affecting, a lot of intense work, a lot of monitoring things, I think they are not taking care of themselves as they should, so we are now looking at a full care programme for the DDM,” DaBrea tells CMC.

But for Pastor Smith, islanders’ “Thank God I am alive” is code language for the extent of their losses.

“When I hear somebody say ‘Thank God I am alive’, I know that they have lost a lot. Everybody I have asked how they are doing, ‘Pastor, thank God I am alive’, I know there is a story. The end result is that I have lost significantly. So the end result, they are just glad for life.

“But I’ve been encouraging everybody,” said the pastor, who has three children, ages ranging from four to 13.

He says he is especially concerned about the well-being of children who experienced the hurricane, telling CMC that he does not think that the reality has sunk in as yet.

“… my big daughter, she just sits. So those are the things we are going to have to consider moving forward,” Smith said.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:23:58 +0000

Cox’s 100th birthday celebration

Not even the threat of tropical storm, Maria, could stop Rosalie Carlotta Cox’s two surviving children and other close relatives from celebrating her 100th birthday today.

When Acting Governor General, Sir Philip Greaves, arrived at Cox’s home at 2nd Avenue, Hoyte’s Village, St James, Cox was sitting quietly in her living room resplendent in a blue dress and matching blue hat.

After wishing Cox happy birthday and engaging her in chit-chat, Sir Philip presented the birthday girl with a bouquet of flowers, a personal birthday card and a bottle of non-alcoholic wine.

Sir Philip read the contents of his birthday card for Cox and told her even though she has reached a major milestone, he hoped she enjoys some more years among her close relatives.

The gathering which included her two surviving children, daughter Melda Hinds, son Clem Cox, and grand-son Elvis Thompson joined with Sir Philip in singing happy birthday to Cox.

Sir Philip and Cox’s relatives later toasted Cox on reaching the milestone and wished Cox a happy birthday. Cox later recited Psalm 23 from memory to the amazement of those gathered for the occasion.

Commenting on the life of his grand-mother, Thompson said: “She raised me and I always found her to be a quiet person. I have never seen her in any quarrel with her neighbours.  On one occasion, she saw me liming with some boys in the district and she threatened to put some lashes on me.”

Her son Clem recognized that his mother has reached a milestone and thanked Sir Philip for paying the visit.

Her daughter Melda told members of the press that her mother had seven children, four of whom she raised. She pointed out that she and her brother Clem are the only surviving children.

Giving an insight into her mother’s life, Melda said: “She came from French Village, St Peter and like most young people of the day worked as an agricultural labourer even though she felt she was a bright student.”

Asked to give reasons for her mother’s longevity, Melda said her mother ate such ground provisions as yams and sweet potatoes.

Melda said in her youth her mother attended All Saints Anglican Church at Pleasant Hall, St Peter, but over the past 50 years, she has been a member of the Pentecost Church in French Village, in the same parish.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:13:51 +0000

Trinidad and Tobago mobilizing assistance to Dominica

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday said it is mobilizing to send assistance to the Commonwealth of Dominica that was battered by a massive Category 5 Hurricane Maria late Monday.

In a statement early Tuesday, the Office of the Prime Minister said coordination is taking place under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.

“It is envisaged that as soon as it is safe, a National Helicopter Services Limited helicopter will be sent to Dominica with Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force personnel,” the release stated.

The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is also preparing to send a supply vessel and to take Defence Force personnel as well as supplies up to Dominica.

The release added that later in the day on Tuesday, further announcements will be made as to where the public can drop off goods and supplies to be transported to assist the citizens of Dominica.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit is calling for international aid even as he said his focus now “is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured”.

Skerrit, who himself had to be “rescued” from his residence as Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm hit the island on Monday night, said that “initial reports are of widespread devastation.

“So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.

“So, far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside.”

He said on Tuesday, the authorities will “hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble.

“I am honestly not preoccupied with physical damage at this time, because it is devastating…indeed, mind boggling. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured.

We will need help, my friends, we will need help of all kinds.

“It is too early to speak of the condition of the air and seaports, but I suspect both will be inoperable for a few days. That is why I am eager now to solicit the support of friendly nations and organisations with helicopter services, for I personally am eager to get up and get around the country to see and determine what’s needed,” Skerrit said in a message relayed by the St. Lucia-based Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.

Dominica was hit by a Category 5 storm in 1979 when Hurricane David swept through the island killing several people and leaving millions of dollars in damages. (CMC)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:52:19 +0000

Schools closed
The Ministry of Education has advised that all educational institutions including the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, all nurseries and the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College will be remain closed today, Tuesday September 19, 2017.
Chief Education Officer Karen Best has advised all private schools to remain closed.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:10:24 +0000

Flood warning extended for Barbados

The Barbados Meteorological Services has extended the flood warning until noon today.

In a severe weather statement issued at 5 a.m., the forecasters said that feeder bands from Hurricane Maria continue to produce pockets of moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and gusty winds across Barbados and the Southern Windwards.

The Met Office said the activity will persist during the next 12 hours and this could result in further flooding.

Additionally, the high surf advisory and small craft warning remain in effect.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:04:14 +0000
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Scotiabank donates $500,000 USD to organizations supporting hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean
Scotiabank is donating $500,000 USD to charitable organizations assisting with the rescue and relief efforts in the many Caribbean countries impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Canadian Red Cross will receive $250,000 of Scotiabank’s donation, with the remainder being directed to initiatives supporting young people in the affected communities. Red Cross Societies are already active, mobilizing […]

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:23:50 +0000

Teenager in remand for Firearm, Ammunition & Drugs charges
Police arrested and charged Zariq Amir Pierre Grant (18 years) of Farm Path, Hillaby, St. Thomas, for the offences of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of one (1) round of Ammunition, and Unlawful Possession of Cannabis. These offences were committed on Monday the 11th of September 2017, while at Hillaby, St. Thomas. Circumstances Grant […]

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:42:59 +0000

Mystery remains over care of infant at Barbados nursery, parents still shocked…
Police are conducting investigations to the circumstances surrounding the death of a one (1) month old baby boy, which occurred sometime on Wednesday the 13th of September 2017. Circumstances The parents of the baby, Petra Rouse 21 years, and Silverson Greenidge 30 years, took the baby to the Day Care & Preschool at around 9:15 […]

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:14:22 +0000

Recognised and praised for their tireless diligence they put in during their internship year at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for the period 2016-2017 five, young doctors were acknowledged by the Director of Medical Services and the QEH Internship Coordinator. Speaking during the awards ceremony which recently took place in the QEH Boardroom, Dr. Adanna Grandison, […]

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:01:56 +0000

Arrest in Warrens for Illegal Ammo & Pistol – all of a sudden, Bajan Cops find weapons everywhere?
Police have arrested and formally charge 26 year old Pierre DeCarlo Small, of # 1 Mullion Lane, Gall Hill, Christ Church, for the offences of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and Unlawful possession of ten (10) rounds of ammunition. These offences were committed on Wednesday the 13th of September 2017, while at Warrens Industrial Estate, […]

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:23:47 +0000
Feed from Nation Publishing Company Inc, a newspaper published in Barbados

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Premier says TCI is open for business, a fortnight after Irma
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GRAND TURK, Turks and Caicos Islands – The government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) says the British Overseas Territory (BOT) is on the road to recovery nearly two weeks after it was hit by a Category...

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:00:00 -0400

In first visit, Trump urges reform so UN can meet full potential
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Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:00:00 -0400

Flood warning extended until noon
Flood warning extended until noon

The Flood Warning for Barbados remains in effect until noon today. The Barbados Meteorological Services said at 5 a.m. Hurricane Maria was located near 16.0 °N, 62.3°W or about 65 miles (100 km) west-southwest...

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:24:00 -0400

Government distances itself from scam
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Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:00:00 -0400

Lady Gaga calls off European tour, citing severe physical pain
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Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:00:00 -0400