Nowhere to turn

Barbadians in Tortola desperate to get out

A Bajan-Canadian couple is tonight appealing to the Barbadian authorities to come to their immediate rescue, claiming they are now at their wits end with nowhere to turn, a week after falling victim to Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

“Send a gosh darn plane already! This happened a week ago and we are sitting here and nobody has sent us help to get us out,” said a frustrated Glenna Smith, who had travelled to Tortola for business two Saturdays ago and was joined by her Barbadian husband Romeo Addison for a bit of added pleasure as the couple, who reside at Rockley in Christ Church, was celebrating their wedding anniversary and was happy for the opportunity to enjoy a “mini-getaway” in Tortola.

Today Glenna Smith and her husband Romeo Addison’s hopes of escaping the BVI were further shattered after word came that an “evacuation flight” that had been arranged for all Barbadians in the BVI was diverted to another storm battered territory.

Lo and behold, Hurricane Irma would drop by to ensure that their anniversary celebration would have anything but a happy ending.

In fact it has turned out to be nothing short of a recurring nightmare for them since Irma struck the BVI last Wednesday leaving at least five dead and a trail of untold destruction.

“We probably had about a 45 minute quiet time when we were in the eye of the hurricane and then when the back wall passed and it was about three or four hours of just the noises, the wind.

“The building was shaking, the bed was shaking, the walls were shaking. It ripped off staircases, railings, it flipped cars, it pushed boats out of the water. It ripped the roof off of our hotel,” Smith recalled, adding that “there isn’t a tree that is standing on the whole island.

“I couldn’t even tell you how many cars are flipped over, damaged, mashed up beyond belief. I have yet to see a structure that doesn’t have some damage on it. It doesn’t matter if it was a nice, large commercial property or a small little house, the devastation is so widespread,” she said.

Up to now, residents still do not have access to electricity or running water and telephones, Wi-Fi and other forms of communication are virtually non existent, except at the airport in Tortola where Barbados TODAY managed to connect briefly with Smith this afternoon via WhatsApp, as she was seemingly waiting in vain, and not for the first time this week, for news on a flight back to Barbados.

“We have been trying to get flights home and they keep getting cancelled. We had a return ticket with LIAT. They have since cancelled our return and said they will give us a credit for a year and it is up to us to make our own way home,” a distressed Smith told Barbados TODAY.

Today, her hopes were further shattered after word came that an “evacuation flight” that had been arranged for all Barbadians in the BVI was diverted to another storm battered territory.

“When we got here, we were told to wait . . . . There was a CARICOM soldier who told us they would come back to us with an update, but when the soldier came back at 3 [p.m.], he told us the plane got diverted to Saint Martin because there were worse crises there and that no plane was coming and that we were to leave the airport, [but] we have nowhere to stay, we are pretty much out of money and the [airport is the] safest place right now because the prison is busted open, there are shootings, there are rapes,” she said.

Since the passage of the storm, there has been a heavy police presence on the streets of Road Town. The British Navy has also arrived to assist in the restoration of order following reports that “the whole town was looted within the first 24 hours”.

A 6 p.m. to 6.a.m. curfew is currently in effect and Smith confirmed that no one was allowed out, as the Brits control the roads and try to restore safety.

“Here they [the British] have taken over control of the airport in Tortola and they are only allowing disaster relief flights, and as of today they are starting to have some emergency evacuations,” she said.

However, much to her disdain, the majority of those leaving today were American citizens while she and a “handful” of other Barbadians were seemingly not even being afforded a safe haven at the airport.

In her frustration, Smith complained that one official had actually told them “you are just going to have to go sit in the parking lot overnight”, to which she exclaimed: “Really! we are human beings.”

With anger noticeable in her voice, Smith also complained about Barbados’ handling of the crisis situation.

“I’m seeing now the third American plane getting loaded taking their citizens out, so it is not that it is not possible, it is that our Government is not doing anything,” she said.

When contacted this evening Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxine McClean requested that the information on the stranded couple be emailed to her Permanent Secretary Nigel Cox for his attention.

Barbados TODAY also reached out to Director of the Regional Security System Errington Sherland who reported that an RSS team would be headed into Tortola around 1 p.m. tomorrow to pick up the stranded Barbadians.
kaymarjordan@barbadostoday.bb

54 Responses to Nowhere to turn

  1. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch September 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Notice it say them and the handful of other bajans. Hope no one is left behind.

    Reply
  2. John Everatt September 13, 2017 at 12:11 am

    It is hard to understand the reaction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. What was she thinking? Just a few days ago our Prime Minister flew to Guyana for a big CARICOM heads of state meeting to decide on a response to this disaster. (I did not hear about any decisions that were made at that meeting) And here we have our Minister of Foreign Affairs presented with specifics on Barbadians in need of help in BVI and her response is “email it to the permanent secretary”. I wonder why she did not pick up the phone then and there and call the permanent secretary to give him or her the details. But in the end it appears as though she just didn’t care or else just didn’t want to get involved. But this is her job for god sakes.

    Reply
  3. Hazel Harrison
    Hazel Harrison September 13, 2017 at 1:58 am

    what is our Governnent doing sleeping

    Reply
  4. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams September 13, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Journalism works. But why is the government so lethargic?

    Reply
  5. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard September 13, 2017 at 4:14 am

    America went for all of them ppl. barbados goes for your ppl and get them out.

    Reply
  6. Tamina Darkies
    Tamina Darkies September 13, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Email she the info my ass,when these useless ministers flying out with they so call delegates to do nothing they definitely find planes to do that so wha happen now they can’t get none to bring home the bajans?

    Reply
  7. Mhizz FirstLady
    Mhizz FirstLady September 13, 2017 at 4:35 am

    This is sad ….Barbados can do better than that… America going for they peoples.. Why can’t Barbados do the same thing… Smh…just sickening… We better didn’t have a government to run this country….where is the love ..I know they have a few private own aircrafts here show some love and go get those people off that island.. It can’t be easy being there .

    Reply
    • Berry Deighton
      Berry Deighton September 13, 2017 at 8:38 am

      America has C41 military transport jets that don’t need a big airport to land they have troop ships that are used for evacuation Canada has the same military resources to evacuate their what does Barbados have in terms of large transport vessels. Stop making it political. Any evacuation Barbados makes will be slow because of logistics.

      Reply
    • Berry Deighton
      Berry Deighton September 13, 2017 at 8:40 am

      I think the first priority would be to get relief supplies in don’t u think

      Reply
  8. Tashona Knight
    Tashona Knight September 13, 2017 at 5:11 am

    Praying for a safe return. But while we bash our government we can bash the canadian government as well.. It said Canadian bajan couple… Where is the Canadian government? Aren”t they sending help for their people to? I sure the article said the was redirect to another country in a worst condition. Give the people a break let the do their job. It’s not only BVI and St. Martin the only countries affected that have Barbadians at the time of Irma .

    Reply
    • Jewel Forde
      Jewel Forde September 13, 2017 at 5:44 am

      Bless you!!! I thought it was just me! Why isn’t she bashing the Canadian government for not reading them? I’m sorry for their situation but geez.

      Reply
    • Penny Ann
      Penny Ann September 13, 2017 at 5:49 am

      It said A Bajan-Canadian couple

      Reply
    • Tashona Knight
      Tashona Knight September 13, 2017 at 6:38 am

      Bajan Canadian or Canadian bajan the question is still the same. Where is the Canadian goverment? A Canadian is involve. Rather she is married to a Barbadian or not she is Canadian by birth. Where are they?

      Reply
    • Maggie September 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      My heart goes out to them but the same thing crossed my mind.

      Reply
  9. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen September 13, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Didn’t I read this woman is a Canadian sense Barbados government is so slow ,why not try your government.

    Reply
  10. Rhonda Parris
    Rhonda Parris September 13, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Sometimes we as a don’t even take time to pray to thank God we’re still

    Reply
  11. Donild Trimp September 13, 2017 at 6:15 am

    “When contacted this evening Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxine McClean requested that the information on the stranded couple be emailed to her Permanent Secretary Nigel Cox for his attention”.

    I call a spade a spade.

    That is an ignorant statement coming from a Minister of Foreign Affairs given the circumstances and the peril facing Barbadians on that island.

    Are you really that self centered that you couldn’t spare two seconds to call your own Permanent Secretary with this urgent and important information? There are other Barbadians in this predicament, not just this couple.

    Get real lady !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now I am beginning to see why so many Barbadians are fed up with the people running things there.

    Useless self centered non-thinkers.

    Reply
  12. Elaine Vanhuis
    Elaine Vanhuis September 13, 2017 at 6:16 am

    it will cost but try barbados via Miami.

    Reply
  13. Cecelia Cox
    Cecelia Cox September 13, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Barbadian Canadian couple….so why are you only bashing the Barbados Government on this???
    Come on people….

    Reply
  14. Tony Webster September 13, 2017 at 6:42 am

    I would readily believe this callous response…coming from a “square peg-round hole” public servant, but this shines a bright light on how dark it is at the top of the political totem!!
    Stand-by for some minister to take credit for bringing the Bajans home ex Antigua, courtesy SOL on their company aircraft, with the usual glory-grabbing “information” trotted-out on CH-8.

    Naueating.

    Reply
  15. The Elephant September 13, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Barbados is not America. And for those of you berating the minister, she and her ministry were reaching out to find Barbadians according to an article posted within this very publication. The people of Barbados are too critical of their own government. A people with an insatiable lust for the negative of everything will never be satisfied. Senator McClean is a very efficient minister and is doing a much better job than many of you have said. Give the lady a break as she’s following protocol and not tying her self to one case as they are many.

    Bitter people griping: “This is sad…sickening…we better didn’t have a government to run this country” another crying “useless ministers” then all the comparison to America…really ?…The Great America… the super power of the world who could have easily collected all those stranded as an act of goodwill and have them flown back to their countries from US Mainland, but instead you undermine your government and country which is not beneficial. Very Ungrateful God forbid little Barbados gets hit by meteor I’m almost certain somebody somewhere in the world who is a Bajan will blame the government for not repositioning the island – It is impossible to please everyone even more so a Bajan.

    Reply
    • VoR September 13, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Well said.

      Reply
    • Patty September 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      very well said..people looking for all the reasons to blame the government. If too much rain falls…blame the government

      Reply
  16. Freeagent September 13, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Fellow Bajans, Canada has aircrafts; the USA has aircrafts. What aircraft does Barbados have? I heard on the news yesterday that the RSS airlifted Bajans home but I suppose that the worst affected will be given priority. Wait and stop complaining.

    Reply
    • h. calndre. September 13, 2017 at 11:38 am

      Someone fool the bajans that they punch above their weight and that was only until they get hit and then they realise that they are only paper weight.

      Reply
  17. Rodney H. Greaves
    Rodney H. Greaves September 13, 2017 at 6:52 am

    I wonder if they contacted the Canadian Embassy or government? Don’t be too quick to judge. Now tell me, what resources the Bajan government have to evacuate them from BVI? The best they can do is send the defense force. Look call Canada do. Stop relying on a country which don’t have the resources.

    Reply
  18. Lionel Gittens
    Lionel Gittens September 13, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Bajans are always ready to bash their Government.

    Reply
    • Cecelia Cox
      Cecelia Cox September 13, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Very much so!
      We are unbelievable sometimes. …how much can little Barbados do with the little resources we have…

      Reply
  19. Cynthia Bee
    Cynthia Bee September 13, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Just asking. Were you there on COMPANY BUSINESS or your personal ???? lots of things we have to know before we comment ,, And just in case. We use LIAT From Barbados or even if we took a Bigger Aircraft we have to go to Antigua and as a result of the HURRICANES. We in the SMALL islands do encounter traveling problems inter island even if we do not have Hurricanes. Sorry for any Inconvenience this may have caused. Stay Safe as you build your Memory Bank

    Reply
  20. Sheron Inniss September 13, 2017 at 7:37 am

    I don’t care where she come from; he is a Bajan. Where are our planes and pretend helicopters?

    Reply
  21. Calvin Ron
    Calvin Ron September 13, 2017 at 7:53 am

    When did they contact the government others contacted and where saved. Others got together and sent aid what are you all doing apart from bashing the government and turning this political

    Reply
  22. Cynthia Bee
    Cynthia Bee September 13, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I see the Weeks got home. They were in Tortola. So you are right ,Calvin , be it Canadian or Barbadian Government ,,

    Reply
  23. Gillian Skeete
    Gillian Skeete September 13, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Not sure if the runway is up and working but check out west jet fb page they’ve been doing flight rescues to various islands and working with Canadian border agency which is Federal government. Flights going to Toronto, Taking Canadians or anyone with valid passport plus any documents permitting them to enter Canada. So one doesn’t have to be Canadian
    The instructions are on west jet page for registering people to get flights as communications are maybe still not working yet or well. Since sept 7th they’ve been doing this just need a runway to get people out which has been impossible so here’s hoping this Bajan Canadian couple gets out

    Reply
  24. Helen Charles Knighton
    Helen Charles Knighton September 13, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Suppose they lost their passport in the hurricane? How can they prove their citizenship under those conditions? Barbados has the resources to charter a plane or ask one of their friends in BIG companies who own an aircraft to go get these people. Like the same aircraft David Thompson used when he was sick flying to NY.

    Reply
    • h. calndre. September 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Call on Leroy Parrish, he had a Lears Jet that he the PM and friends used to jolly ride in, if Thompson was alive, Parris, Thompson and the CJ would have barbados in their pockets.

      Reply
  25. Cynthia Bee
    Cynthia Bee September 13, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I saw on the News Paper that they were Home

    Reply
  26. Lauraine Clarke
    Lauraine Clarke September 13, 2017 at 10:04 am

    You got to give Jack his jacket, the Canadian Government could of help.

    Reply
  27. Ossie Moore September 13, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Cecelia Cox says : We are unbelievable sometimes. …how much can little Barbados do with the little resources we have…

    Well Cecelia . Little Buhbaydus claims that it is the best country on the planet , and it can’t do any better ?

    Reply
  28. F.A.Rudder September 13, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Some situation Romeo and Glenna! More heavy lift helicopters needed by Caricom Governments they are quite more essential than fixed wing aircraft in times of disaster.

    Reply
  29. Greengiant September 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Really? Some of you are being unreasonable.

    How many places can the government or the R S S send planes at the same time?

    While I do understand their desperation there has to be some order in the repatriation effort so unfortunately they had to wait. They will be rescued i’m sure, so we need to give the government some credit as they started evacuation yesterday.

    We all saw three persons arrived at the airport on Tuesday. There had to be some sound reasoning they were made the priority at this time.

    Reply
  30. Don Moore September 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Glenna’s family has been working endlessly trying to get them help. Nobody is stepping forward to help , Canadian government included. Please someone help them!

    Reply
  31. Blatant September 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    This woman for real u r not the only one who’s stranded and want to get home or find yourself in this position u making noise about Barbados government u is Canadian born traveling with a Canadian passport y u ain’t making calls to the Canadian government that’s who u should b complaining to they is planes bringing Canadians back or is they a reason u not reaching out to the Canadian government. Canada have more resources.

    Reply
  32. T.A September 13, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Wow this sounds like a movie…i have never thought about the destruction a hurricane can cause

    Reply
  33. Donild Trimp September 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Most of you people on here are missing the point.

    Are you all that daft?

    The issue is about a directive from the Minister to send an email with the information about the stranded couple to her Permanent Secretary in-spite of the same information being readily available to her at the time.

    Read Tony Webster’s post and become informed when it comes to using rational thought, logic and common sense.

    Reply
  34. Regina bovell September 13, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Please help them. They’re really great people.

    Reply
  35. Miche September 13, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    “Send a gosh darn plane already! This happened a week ago and we are sitting here and nobody has sent us help to get us out,”

    Do you think that it is your personal taxi service,,,, You respectful person,, you are acting like this happened in St Peter or some other parish over here,,,,,, there re boundaries to cross,,Do you think that we can just snatch up a plane anr land in the car park of your honeymoon suite,,, behave yourself and learn some respect,,,,

    Reply
  36. Miche September 13, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    “Send a gosh darn plane already! This happened a week ago and we are sitting here and nobody has sent us help to get us out,”

    Do you think that it is your personal taxi service,,,, You dis-respectful person,, you are acting like this happened in St Peter or some other parish over here,,,,,, there re boundaries to cross,,Do you think that we can just snatch up a plane anr land in the car park of your honeymoon suite,,, behave yourself and learn some respect,,,,

    Reply

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