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Every hand needed for rebuilding



Hurricane Tomas really delivered a severe beating to our country over the weekend. We had been bemoaning the state of the economy. Now, in retrospect, when we look at the devastation all around us, things were relatively good.{{more}}

Our agricultural industry has suffered a severe hit, and the months ahead look dismal in terms of our ability to earn income from our agricultural exports, and being able to supply ourselves with food, especially fruit and vegetables. Estimates put losses in the agricultural sector at over $67 million.

In this issue, we feature two banana farmers whose entire crops were wiped out. They have both been in the banana industry for many years and have said this is the worst experience they have ever had. Despite the misfortunes of the banana industry over the years, it is still a major income earner, and brought in over $22 million last year.

By the last estimate, over 1,200 homes were either damaged or destroyed during the hurricane, and over 1,000 persons were in emergency shelters on Sunday. Many of these persons were traumatized by having to run for their lives and are now wondering how they will pick up the pieces.

Despite the devastation all around us, especially to our agricultural industry and to the many families whose homes were damaged, we still have to thank God that no lives were lost and we did not suffer more damage.

Tomas was a category one hurricane, and he grew stronger after he left us. As we go to press, we are receiving reports of fatalities and widespread damage in St. Lucia. Just thinking of what might have happened, were Tomas a stronger hurricane, is too horrible to bear.

However, the situation is what it is, and processing of rebuilding has begun. The relevance and appropriateness of the theme of our 31st anniversary of independence, “With every hand we build our land”, is now beginning to dawn on us.

Now more than ever, we need to put aside petty differences and get on with the task of building and rebuilding. It is to our credit that over the last few days, the national good has been at the forefront, and very little of the divisive partisan political discourse, which has characterised our conversation over the past few years, has been heard.

May this new attitude continue as we hopefully have learned over the past few days that the things we have in common are much greater than the things which divide us, and we really need each other and to work together, if we are to progress as a people.