Commentary: Building a new Caribbean

Cdr. Bud Slabbaert is the initiator and coordinator of the annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference. The international results and solution oriented event brings airlift stakeholders from both aviation and tourism industry, as well as government authorities together (www.caribavia.com). His background is accentuated by business development, strategic communication, and journalism

By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert

Having experienced two category 5 hurricanes, having seen the devastation and been around to feel and understand the inconveniences, to just express it mildly; no water, no electricity or no telecommunication for an extended period. Lots of time though to think about what happened and who are suffering, and wondering about the future. Returning to what may be considered ‘normal’ is not an option but rather a mediocratic restoration.

I have seen buildings that remained almost untouched. I have seen buildings without roofs, windows, or doors where residents sat in front of what once was their beloved home, and their complete damaged furniture and belongings in the yard or on the street in front of them. People not knowing what to do or what may be next. I have seen tremendous piles of sheet metal; pardon my rude English, but I now call it shit metal.

Hurricane preparedness, including having bottled water, batteries, getting any loose items out of the way, etc. is a minimal precaution. What about buildings and construction? The Caribbean needs a hurricane building code.

It may bring me in the doghouse, but I dare to say that the various individual Caribbean governments are incompetent to establish an appropriate code that focuses on building hurricane resistant structures. Even if one government would be able to do so, what about the ten-plus other countries that have ten-plus different viewpoints? What about the political umbrella organizations handling it? If you ask me, I have my doubts. Did I say doghouse? Now, I may be thrown in front of…

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