(ST LUCIA TIMES) – Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has announced a Monday 6.00 pm shutdown of the country, as Dorian approaches.
“We are expecting the worst,” Chastanet told reporters following a pre-strike meeting of the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC).
He reminded citizens that Saint Lucia is now on a hurricane watch.
“Recent times have taught us that we should not attempt to model or predict the behaviour of any of these hurricanes because it remains very unpredictable,” he told the news conference following the NEMAC meeting.
The PM recalled that storms have suddenly changed course and others have strengthened considerably.
“In 2017 we saw that in just a matter of 7 hours a category 1 hurricane went to a category 5 hurricane before it hit the Island of Dominica,” he stated.
“We are predicting at this point that the hurricane is going to pass South of Saint Lucia – a very narrow channel. That means it could move either North of that position or South of that position,” Chastanet disclosed.
“We are anticipating at this point that it could be a Category one hurricane, but given that the hurricane is not due to hit here until 2 O’ clock in the morning, there are a lot of things that could transpire,” he stated.
The Prime Minister called on citizens to take the storm ‘extremely seriously’.
“Six to ten inches is a lot of rain and so, therefore, everybody should be taking the necessary precautions,” he said.
Chastanet said the official 6.00 pm shutdown on Monday, August 26, 2019, would give the country, within policy guidelines, at least seven hours before the hurricane affects the Island.
“At 6.00 pm we expect all commercial offices to be shut and that everybody should be at home or have been identified to go to their nearest shelter if they don’t want to stay in their homes,” the PM announced.
He stressed that the only official entity that can give any notices in relation to when the country will be reopened or closed is the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and he as Prime Minister.
“Everyone is to remain in their homes until NEMO gives the all-clear,” Chastanet said.