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PSI mourns the loss of life and the devastation in the northern Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian. We send our condolences to the people of the Bahamas and especially our affiliate, the Bahamas Public Services Union (Bahamas PSU).
For four consecutive years, the peoples of the Caribbean have experienced Category five hurricanes (Matthew in 2016, Irma and Maria in 2017, Michael in 2018, and now Dorian in 2019). We commend the public emergency services workers and other public servants on the front lines of rescue, relief and recovery efforts. We welcome the efforts of volunteers working in coordination with public authorities.
Yet again, the world is witnessing one of the impacts of climate chaos. Hurricane Dorian sat on the northern Bahamas for over 20 hours. Heart-wrenching photos, and videos of devastation in the northern Bahamas are available for the world to recognise the existential threat to the Caribbean caused by climate chaos and global heating. Official sources estimate that at least 45% of houses and other infrastructure is lost. Dealing with hurricane and weather events that constantly increase in frequency and ferocity is a matter of survival for the peoples of the Caribbean.
General secretary of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) “I especially appeal to authorities to ensure that they take special care to meet the needs of the most vulnerable - women, the elderly, children, persons with disabilities, and migrants”.
“Many of our unions represent workers in public emergency services – the women and men who are at the frontlines before and after the passage of hurricanes. They too will need support as they rescue people and save lives. We are continually calling on Caribbean governments to invest more in public emergency services. At the same time, we will raise our voices in regional and global spaces.”
The answer is staring us in the face. Unless we dramatically change our patterns of production and consumption, unless our governments serve the interests of people and planet over profit, the small island and low-lying states in the Caribbean and the Pacific will disappear. PSI’s affiliates in the Caribbean are committed to taking bold actions to realise a sustainable and resilient Caribbean.