#EyeOnBeryl: CTO Urges Region To Continue Exercising Vigilance As Hurricane Approaches

(CMC) — Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Kenneth Bryan, is calling on the region to continue exercising vigilance during this hurricane season by preparing for storms, while also being ready to respond and recover swiftly.

“Even as we protect life and property here in the western Caribbean, we stand in solidarity with the people of St Vincent and the islands of the Grenadines who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Beryl,” said Bryan, who is also the minister of tourism and ports of the Cayman Islands.

“Their pain is our pain, and their struggles are felt across our entire region,” said the CTO chairman, adding that “when one member of our Caribbean family is affected, we all feel the impact. But together, we must unite and support each other through these challenging times”.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its latest weather bulletin said Hurricane Beryl, which has been blamed for at least four deaths when it made its way through the Windward Islands earlier this week, is expected to bring hurricane conditions to Jamaica by midday with life-threatening winds and storm surge.

The Category 4 storm is 125 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and 430 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour (mph).

“Beryl is moving toward the west-northwest near 20 mph and this general motion should continue through today, followed by a turn more toward the west tonight or Thursday.

“On the forecast track, the centre of Beryl will move rapidly across the central Caribbean Sea and is forecast to pass near or over Jamaica later today.  The centre is expected to pass near or over the Cayman Islands tonight or early Thursday and move over the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico early Friday,” the NHC added.

It said that while some weakening is forecast during the next day or two, however, Beryl is forecast to be at or near major hurricane intensity while it passes near Jamaica later today and the Cayman Islands tonight or early Thursday.

“Additional weakening is expected thereafter, though Beryl is forecast to remain a hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean.”

The CTO chairman said the Barbados-based organisation is committed to working closely with relief organisations to ensure a coordinated and effective response to hurricane impacts.

“We recognise the critical importance of preparedness. As hurricanes become more frequent and intense due to climate change, we urge all residents and businesses to take necessary precautions.

“Secure your homes, stock up on essential supplies, and have a clear plan in place. At the same time, we must be ready to support our neighbours and contribute to swift recovery efforts,” Bryan said.

He said that climate change poses a significant threat to the region, “and we must be proactive in our response”.

“This hurricane season, let us demonstrate the strength of our Caribbean spirit by preparing diligently and standing in solidarity. Our collective efforts will make a difference and ensure that we emerge stronger and more resilient.”

Bryan also called on the international community to assist the region with rebuilding infrastructure, restoring essential services, and helping communities get back on their feet.

“We contribute the least to and suffer the most from the changing climate, so we need the global community to help provide resources for improved building standards, better communication systems, and more resilient infrastructure to mitigate future hurricane impacts,” he added.