Archive | Climate/Weather


Ferry travel to Montserrat failed for high seas

By Bennette Roach

The March seas struck again and stranded over 100 passengers in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth.

But later it would be observed that there were some miscalculations. The Jaden Sun was on advice that it would be able to dock at the port Plymouth arrived just about mid-day before the sea changed its composure and the waters surged just as the ferry docked. The surge caused the ferry to pull against its rope and broke a mooring on deck, just when our attention was drawn to the water rising by an official who had been at the port waiting for the arrival of the ferry. He pointed out prior to that the water was relatively ‘flat’.

The Jaden Sun captain known for his deep concern for safety of passengers and his ship, decided that he would not risk the discomfort and possible danger for passengers to alight from the boat, immediately pulled away heading back towards Antigua.

A total of 114 passengers were reportedly aboard, but officials told us that the captain would check the waters in Little Bay to see if the situation was different. On arrival at Little Bay we observed how the water seemed flat and noted also that the Jaden Sun was slowly approaching, as was reported to have a look. It held up a distance from the jetty when a wave as seen in the photographs which caused a good ride up and down. Not abnormal in similar circumstances. But anyone listening to the reaction by persons ashore from videos gone viral, it would seem as the boat was in some danger, which it wasn’t. So too as later reported that passengers were shaken by the sudden ride that boat took on with the single big wave. The captain blew his horn and took off back to Antigua with some obviously frustrated passengers, some of whom had not been back to Montserrat as far back as the 70’s.

Hold up in Antigua getting to Montserrat

The island is expected an estimated 2000 people to arrive in the days, this set some of whom were in Antigua since the Sunday, March 4th on their way to enjoy the annual St Patrick’s Festival which officially began on Friday, March 9.

The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo explained on ZJB Radio that the decision to dock in Plymouth was not taken lightly and early morning indications had shown that it would be safe for the ferry to dock there. However, by the time the ferry arrived at noon, the surf had increased and made it unsafe to dock.

Premier Romeo said the government “has taken the responsibility to provide meals, transport and accommodations to the passengers, pending further plans.”

The Access Division announced late Wednesday that flight arrangements were being finalised for the elderly and children to be flown in on Thursday March 8, 2018.

The festivities are in high gear – grand finale begin tomorrow

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17th 1768 and authorities here are forecasting that over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.

The Tourism Division has informed that on St. Patrick’s Day itself, more than 1500 persons will travel via ferry from Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.

The Jeans for Freedom Ferry is expected to arrive on Montserrat with 437 people from Guadeloupe on March 17th.

568 passengers are also expected in from Antigua and Barbuda on St. Patrick’s Day, 218 passengers on the Jayden Sun and 350 on the MV lovely 1.

The Sea Hustler will transport 150 passengers from St. Kitts and Nevis on March 16th with a return date of March 18th.

The Tourism Division says based on its promotions in Antigua, it is also anticipating several yachts, based in English Harbour, to journey over to Montserrat during the week.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Entertainment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Ash and lava are visible inside the cone of the Soufrière Hills volcano, seen from Olveston, Montserrat, in January 2007. Photograph: Wayne Fenton/AP

MVO Director Stewart fixes UK Guardian, Express newspapers misrepresentation

by Bennette Roach

Soufriere Hills mountain, March 5, 2018

It wouldn’t be the first time that UK Newspapers have distorted and published information that turned out unfavourable and detrimental to the Island.

Publication of articles like this with this kind of information, is reminiscent of 1997-8 when the UK Government authorities broadcasted and said that there might be a cataclysmic eruption that would cause Montserrat to completely evacuated. The result of that in spite of vehement denial of that situation from the Government and scientists on Montserrat, it was not until 2008 the UK relented on the misinformation.

Very cleverly written, if not with some dishonesty. If one doesn’t read carefully, you will miss that Professor Neuberg is not the one saying, ‘Sadly, Montserratians must continue to wait.’

The only information attributed to Professor Neuberg is the following: “Except for the gas plume there is nothing visible on the surface, but the instruments show us clearly that the deformation is ongoing and the entire island is still inflating.”

With all the observations and opinions inserted, some of the information is far from up to date, even though they claimed they were reporting on very recent information.

As the Director Stewart observes the Express was even more damning in its reporting on this matter.

Here MVO director sets the record straight.

Statement on the Status of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat (Director, Roderick Stewart)

Following the publication on 7 March 2018 of two articles in UK newspapers (The Guardian and The Express), members of the public have expressed concerns about the current status of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat (SHV), particularly with reference to ground deformation. Monitoring data recorded and interpreted by Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) shows no changes that suggest that new activity is imminent. The newspaper articles are misleading and, in the case of The Express, alarmist.

Ash and lava are visible inside the cone of the Soufrière Hills volcano, seen from Olveston, Montserrat, in January 2007. Photograph: Wayne Fenton/AP

Since the end of the last phase of lava extrusion on 11 February 2010, MVO has observed a slow, steady movement of the ground surface across the whole of Montserrat using data recorded by our network of very precise Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. The news articles in question report on research being carried out by MVO in collaboration with Professor Jurgen Neuberg (University of Leeds, UK) that seeks to understand this trend. The research suggests that, since February 2010, the underground magma system that feeds the SHV has been slowly recharged by the influx of magma at depth. This causes the pressure inside the system to increase, which is then seen as upwards and outwards movement of the ground surface around the volcano.

The news articles suggest that the research has produced new information. In the Express article this, when combined with a very small swarm of small-magnitude earthquakes on 25 February 2018, indicates that a new eruption may be imminent. This is not the case. Brief swarms of such earthquakes have occurred on more than one hundred occasions since 2007.

All the data recorded by MVO since the last surface activity in February 2010 follows a consistent long-term trend which was also characteristic of four previous pauses in activity. The overall earthquake activity has been relatively low; the observed deformation pattern shows slow inflation; and the sulphur dioxide gas output is between 200 and 400 tons per day.

The restrictions on access to some areas of Montserrat have been in place for many years and all visits to these areas, including for economic activity, are closely controlled and very carefully managed.




Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments


IICA backs CARICOM efforts to turn the Caribbean into the first region resilient to climate change

 SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, Mar 2, CMC – The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has pledged support for the efforts by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to become the first region resilient to climate change.

IICA said that its Director General Manuel Otero in keeping with the objectives expressed by regional leaders during the just concluded inter-sessional summit in Haiti, emphasized that the Institute pursues objectives similar to those outlined at the meeting.

agricultureHe said the fact that, as an organization entrusted with promoting agricultural development in the Americas, IICA’s work focuses on creating a more productive, inclusive and resilient agriculture.

“IICA, along with the President of Haiti, (Jovenel Moise) recognizes the region’s vulnerability to the severe effects of climate change, reflected in droughts, major hurricanes and floods, which are the most visible and increasingly intense phenomena experienced in the Caribbean and Central America.

“In this regard, it is timely to recall that strengthening cooperation in areas vulnerable to natural disasters was one of the concrete results achieved during the recent visit by the Director General of IICA to Ottawa, Canada, where agreements were reached with prestigious and active organizations such as the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to increase urgent and committed actions to tackle the most destructive effects of climate change on family agriculture.”

IICA said that these same objectives were discussed earlier this week in Washington by Otero and the Deputy Director General of IICA, Lloyd Day during meetings with private sector representatives and with high-ranking officials of the United States government and multilateral credit organizations.

The statement noted that in response to the concerns expressed by CARICOM leaders, IICA will continue its efforts to strengthen South-South cooperation by promoting increased exchanges of knowledge and experiences and intraregional trade to mitigate the region’s vulnerability to the devastating effects of natural disasters.

“IICA also acknowledges the efforts of the member states of CARICOM and congratulates them for the agreement signed in Port-au-Prince, aimed at supporting the reconstruction of the countries affected by hurricanes Irma, Maria and Matthew, in the context of their public policies to promote institutional strengthening, actions to mitigate natural disasters and resilience to climate change,” the statement added.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments


High seas could affect arrivals for St. Patrick’s Day memorial celebrations

Rough waters at Little Bay

With much of the debate still raging even after TMR suggestions from over a year ago, to plan early in respect of the debate that continued to be aired then regarding how and what the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are being considered, this year there is expected to be more visitors that the population of Montserrat which stands at just around 5,000.

With no changes in our plans for increasing access to Montserrat by air, the Access Division has announced through promotions mainly the festival organisers that as many as three ferries will be ushered into operations for the arrival of visiting Montserrat and tourists from neighbouring islands and elsewhere.

Rough waters at Little Bay

But there is a problem. Sources are predicting high seas affecting the islands including Montserrat which is very susceptible to curtail and interrupt ferry docking at Little Bay.

Already since the beginning of February, there has had to cancel the ferry schedule of operations into Little Bay port. Last week there no operations for most of the week, and late this week the problem is surfacing with the reports of even higher seas likely.

Of course, there probably remains landing possibilities at Port Plymouth. No word as people have begun arriving, the last number reported on arrivals by ferry being over 60 at one landing.

Posted in Climate/Weather, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments


UK Continues to Help Islands Rebuild after Hurricanes

Following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, the UK Government remains committed to helping Caribbean islands to build back better.  

To date, the British Government has provided £185m in aid to Caribbean, Commonwealth partner countries and UK Overseas Territories. This includes £35m in aid to hard-hit Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, which has provided the islands’ communities with immediate humanitarian assistance, food, water, emergency shelter, roofing materials, timber, hygiene kits and seeds, and fertiliser. The UK will also make £8m available to promote hurricane and disaster resilience across the region and in individual countries.

During a recent visit to Dominica, British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Janet Douglas, visited areas around Pichelin and Geneva which will benefit from planned, UK-funded improvements to water systems and roads.

High Commissioner Douglas said, “The impact Hurricane Maria had on the Eastern Caribbean was devastating.  I am proud that the UK is providing vital support to help the region’s ongoing recovery. Hurricanes Irma and Maria illustrated the challenges small Caribbean islands face and the importance of helping these countries find robust and sustainable ways to combat such threats.”

Through the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), the UK is additionally investing over £300m in infrastructure across the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica to help increase resilience to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. This additional funding will play a vital role in laying the foundations for growth and prosperity, reduce poverty and create jobs and opportunities for the people of the Caribbean. All of which have been earmarked as high priority areas in the run up to the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). This will take place in London in April 2018.

In preparation for the 2018 transatlantic hurricane season, RFA Mounts Bay is currently embarking on a wider regional mandate, to lend further support to recovering UK Overseas Territories and independent countries. The ship’s Captain, David Buck, met with Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) during his most recent visit to Bridgetown, reaffirming the commitment of both parties to be better placed to handle possible disasters this year. The ship also visited Antigua and Barbuda while in the region, reiterating that the British Navy vessel continues to be on short notice, to react to any emerging crises around the Caribbean.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Dr Warren Smith

US800M available from CDB for hurricane recovery

– following Bank’s strong 2017 performance

By Staff Writer February 9, 2018

Dr Warren Smith

President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Warren Smith,  on Wednesday announced that the institution is making US$700 to 800 million available to help Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) recover from the impact of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The funding, which the Bank will provide over the next five years, complements its ongoing work to build resilience in the Caribbean Region, according to a media release from CDB.

“Disaster risk management and resilience building took centre-stage again in CDB’s strategic responses to the challenges facing our BMCs,” Smith said in the CDB statement, while outlining the Bank’s 2017 performance during his Annual News Conference.

“To incentivise BMCs to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, CDB must be able to also offer grants and other attractively priced financial resources.  But the challenges our Region faces are bigger than what CDB can handle on its own.  We have, therefore, been drawing on a combination of our own resources as well as funds intermediated through CDB by other development partners to meet this challenge,” the CDB president was quoted as saying in the bank’s press release.

In 2017, the CDB mobilised concessionary resources from development partners to support more resilient infrastructure projects throughout the Region, according to the CDB media release. Among the resources tapped was the Second Climate Action Line of Credit from the European Investment Bank totalling US$144 million, including US$24 million for emergency post-disaster rehabilitation. Last year, the Bank also announced a new US$70 million fund, through which the Government of Mexico will provide grants to boost regional infrastructure in the Bank’s BMCs.

In 2018, the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund, a 300 million pounds sterling programme launched two years ago, will be expanded to include an additional 28 million pounds sterling to assist in the recovery efforts in Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, the President announced in the statement.

“The Caribbean has had a long history of bouncing back from natural disasters and other external shocks.  So, in the events of 2017, we see immense opportunity for the BMCs to come back stronger and more resilient,” said Smith in the release, while noting that the Caribbean is the second-most vulnerable region to climate change in the world.

In highlighting the Bank’s improved performance in 2017, Smith said that CDB recorded strong growth in both approvals and disbursements according to the press release. It approved capital loans and technical assistance interventions totalling US$364 million, up 18 percent over 2016. In addition, in 2017, the Bank disbursed US$233 million – an increase of 13 percent, compared with the previous year.  This was achieved against the backdrop of increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters, and greater vulnerability of its BMCs.

The Bank achieved a rating upgrade to AA+ from Standard & Poor’s, and an AA+ capital market rating from Fitch Ratings in 2017, and now has a unified rating across the three major rating agencies, including Moody’s Investors Service  (Aa1), the media statement said.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Hurricane, International, News, Regional0 Comments

5.5 earthquake jolts Caribbean islands

5.5 earthquake jolts Caribbean islands

Friday, February 09, 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 jolted several Caribbean islands on Friday but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies said that the quake, which occurred at 1.43 pm (local time), was felt in Barbuda, St Kitts and St Maarten.

It said it was located Latitude: 18.71N, Longitude: 61.43W and at a depth of 10 kilometres.

“The event occurred north of Barbuda and was reported felt in St Kitts and St Maarten,” the SRC said.

In recent weeks, several Caribbean countries have been rattled by earthquakes and in January an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 jolted the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa as well as the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and Belize.

Last month, Trinidad and Tobago was rattled by two earthquakes within a one week period. They measured 4.5 and 4.7 respectively.

Posted in Earthquake, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Liz Zechmeister

New survey finds climate change concerns much higher in Caribbean than US, Canada

NASHVILLE, CMC – A leading university here has found that climate change concerns are much higher in Latin America and the Caribbean that in the United States and Canada.

According to a new “Insights” report from Vanderbilt University’s Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), titled “Education and Risk Assessments Predict Climate Change Concerns in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 66.7 percent of Caribbean nationals have “very serious” about climate change.
The report says 21.9 percent of Caribbean nationals said they were “somewhat serious” about the phenomenon.

Meanwhile, more than eight in 10 adults in Mexico and Central America believe climate change is a very serious problem for their country, more than twice the proportion of adults in the United States and Canada, the report says.

Elizabeth Zechmeister, LAPOP’s director and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and graduate student Claire Evans wrote the report.

“Climate change is a highly politicized and partisan issue in the United States, and we wanted to examine whether that is a common characteristic of this issue in other countries in the region,” said Zechmeister. “If not politics, then what predicts attitudes about climate change in these other places?”

Using data collected from LAPOP’s 2016-17 Americas Barometre survey, Zechmeister and Evans analyzed responses to the question: “If nothing is done to reduce climate change in the future, how serious of a problem do you think it will be for [country]?”

Liz Zechmeister
Liz Zechmeister

They found that concern was highest in Mexico and Central America, where 81.5 percent characterized climate change as a “very serious” problem, with an additional 10.4 percent characterizing it as “somewhat serious.”

South America followed close behind, with 75 percent answering “very serious” and 15.2 percent saying “somewhat serious.”

The United States and Canada trailed their neighbors considerably, with just 39.6 percent, saying unchecked climate change was a “very serious” problem.

However, a much larger proportion of adults in these areas considered it a “somewhat serious” issue—35.4 percent, the report finds.

In the Latin America and Caribbean region, the report says the most significant predictors of climate change concern are education and worries about being affected by a natural disaster, though wealth also plays a role.

Education increases concern for climate change nearly 11 percent, while worries about natural disasters increases that concern 8.3 percent, the report says. Wealth is also linked to increased climate change concern, raising it by 3.3 percent.

Vanderbilt University said the findings confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis that climate change is a much more partisan issue in the United States than it is anywhere else in the hemisphere.

Identifying as a liberal in the US is associated with a 16.7 percent increase in climate change concern compared to political centrists, while identifying as a conservative is associated with a 25 percent decrease in concern, the researchers find.

Zechmeister and Evans said this broad consensus about the seriousness of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean suggests that government policies and programs to mitigate climate change could be well supported by the populations in those nations.

LAPOP, hosted by Vanderbilt Universityis considered the leading expert in public opinion polling in the Americas, with more than 40 years of experience.

LAPOP said its AmericasBarometer is the “only scientifically rigorous comparative survey project that covers 34 nations in the Americas,” including the Caribbean.

More than 43,500 interviews comprise the 2016–17 Americas Barometer. The surveys are based on national sample designs and conducted with the assistance of partners across the region.

Posted in Climate/Weather, International, Local, News, Regional1 Comment

Barbuda hur

Opposition parties criticise PM over remarks made in Barbuda

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jan 29, CMC – Two opposition political parties have criticised what they have labelled to be the behaviour last weekend of Prime Minister Gaston Browne in which he is alleged to have made statements highly critical of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officials and accusing the organisation of “opportunism”.

Barbuda hur
Hurricane damage in Barbuda (CMC Photo)

Both the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) and the minority National Alliance (DNA) said they wanted to apologise to the international agency over the remarks made by Browne.

UPP leader Harold Lovell, speaking on a radio programme here, said that an external agency erecting or displaying signage after contributing to a project in a foreign country is not unheard of but rather, it is “standard procedure.”

“I’m making assumptions here but they have to account to their principles. Their principles as well as the Chinese government at some point would want to do some sort of inspection. They would want to see where their money has been spent.”

Browne is reported to have told the UNDP officials in Barbuda over the last weekend “you can’t come and take credit for all the work that my Government did.

“It’s unacceptable. When we do all the work and then you come and put big signs on there as though you did everything that is what is happening. You got to stop it. You can’t come and give few sheets of plywood and then go and take all the credit. You have to stop it,” Browne said as he also criticised the UNDP that has had a presence on Barbuda since the island was hit by the Category 5 Hurricane Irma last September.

Browne told the UNDP officials to remove stickers, which displayed two logos, – one for the UNDP and one for the Government of China – from on a number of homes.

Official said that the stickers, were placed to indicate that the roof of the house was repaired with material from the UNDP procurement project funded by the People’s Republic of China.

“So you cannot now offer a few sheets of plywood and then put a UNDP sticker on the building to suggest that it was done by the UNDP. That is opportunism. And I have directed that every single sticker on this building be taken down. I’m not trying to be controversial. But we do not want a situation whereby the domestic population gets the impression that the government is not making any contribution and that everything is coming from abroad,” he said.

“And by the way, the UNDP is our employee. We employ them to do this. They’re not doing it for free. The people who we are to be grateful to are the donors – the Indian Government, the Chinese Government,” Browne added.

But Lovell told radio listeners that Browne’s behaviour on Friday was “pompous and obnoxious” and questioned whether the intent was to “publicly humiliate everyone.

“Even if [the prime minister] thought he had a point, it’s not the way you deal with it. Call a meeting or pull people aside and you could make your point just as strongly.”

The DNA said the party wanted to “apologise on behalf of the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda for the display by our Prime Minister to the international donor agencies that are here to help us”.


Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Hurricane, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments


Expect a significant earthquake at anytime – UWI

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jan. 28, CMC – The Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies St. Augustine campus, says the twin island republic could experience a significant magnitude earthquake at anytime.
earthquakeeAccording to the centre, on Friday there was a burst of earthquakes including moderate magnitude events at 10:40 am, 10:47 am, 4:30 pm and 6:05 pm (local time), occurring west and south-west off Trinidad.
The UWI Seismic Research Centre in a press release said in all, there were nine events.
“The events were located between 10.5°N to 9.6°N and 61.7°W to 62.2°W. The magnitudes ranged from 3.4 to 5.2 and depths were generally shallow, less than 35 km. The earthquakes were reported as lightly felt across western Trinidad. No damage was reported.”
The Centre noted that a significant earthquake might occur in the general area of these events or elsewhere in the vicinity of Trinidad and Tobago, which lies in an area where significant magnitude earthquakes do occur.

“For example, in the general area of today’s events, there were two earthquakes both of magnitude 6.5 in 1935 and 1945. We should, therefore, always be prepared,” the centre said.

All the way north, Montserrat and other islands are alerting residents to Tsunami warnings.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Earthquake, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments