Barbados calls for pledging conference on recovery and reconstruction

Lamenting the ignoring of clarion calls made over the years by Barbados and other leaders from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in addressing climate change, Barbados has called on the United Nations and the World Bank to convene an International Pledging Conference on the Recovery and Reconstruction of Caribbean islands ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“I urge all member states to support the recovery and rebuilding of the Caribbean,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine McClean in addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“For Barbados and other SIDS, whether in the Caribbean, the Pacific, Asia or Africa, climate change is a matter of life or death.

“It is not an issue for sterile debates and endless meetings,” she added.

“For our people, it is about loss of life and livelihood. For our economies, heavily dependent on tourism, it is about a cycle of constant recovery and rebuilding, which is a serious impediment to sustainable development.”

Still, McClean said Barbados remains committed to ambitious action on climate change, and continued to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, viewing the proposed UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in 2019 as “an important opportunity to take stock and to give additional impetus where necessary.”

“Today, I regret that I must report not on a potential threat but rather on the destructive impact of climate change on the globe,” the Barbados Foreign Minister declared.

“I speak most specifically of the utter devastation being visited on several Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean overwhelmed by an unprecedented wave of hurricanes.

“Barbados, by the grace of God, has so far been spared, but we in the Caribbean are one family; we are brothers and sisters, and, when one of us hurts, we all feel the pain,” she added.

McClean warned that the threat of disease from the destruction must be avoided, stating that one possible consequence of the recent floods and serious infrastructural damage in the region is the outbreak of diseases.

“Our ability to detect and respond to such biological threats must be strengthened,” she urged.

“There must be bilateral and multilateral cooperation to minimize and, indeed, eliminate such threats. A focus on Bio-security must be part of our response.”

McClean also urged that attention be paid to a global health security agenda, stating that, as an island state, the ocean is a priority for Barbados.

She said ocean governance and the promotion and conservation of marine resources are, therefore, among the island’s primary concerns.

The Barbados Foreign Minister said the road to recovery and reconstruction for Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, and the other islands affected by this year’s devastating hurricane season will be “long and difficult”.

“I take comfort in the spirit, will and determination of Caribbean people,” she said. “We are down but not defeated.

“Our neighbors in the Caribbean affected by the recent hurricanes can be assured of the full and unconditional support and solidarity of the Government and people of Barbados,” McClean added.

“However, our friends in the international community must accompany the Caribbean region on this journey to rebuild Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and the other affected islands. We are all morally obligated to do so.”

Barbados also took the opportunity to convey its solidarity with the Government and people of Mexico “suffering the painful effects of two deadly earthquakes in quick succession”.


14 Responses to Barbados calls for pledging conference on recovery and reconstruction

  1. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond September 23, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    May I suggest we need to look beyond climate change at our own lack of seriousness about preparedness. We have sat back and paid scant regard to the fact that ours is an area prone hurricane disasters. That fact is not reflected in our architecture nor physical development. How long have we been hearing about a building code? tropical cyclones are nothing new to this region. When Janet struck in 1955 nobody knew anything about climate change.

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine September 24, 2017 at 2:18 am

      How many people will be able to afford the building code when materials in Barbados are set at prices only the rich and well off can afford? We need to start talking about reducing prices on building materials so everyone can build according to a proper code to withstand the ravages of Cat. 1-6 hurricanes. Climate change is not going stop or improve with talk, but we can certainly do something about making building materials affordable to adapt and get ready for whatever those changes in the climate will bring. So you are right.

    • Mariam Makeba
      Mariam Makeba September 24, 2017 at 11:02 am

      What about the great hurricane of August1831 which devastated Barbados, sank ships and killed over one thousand people. Climate change is the only thing that everybody can think of ?

  2. Ricardo Worrell
    Ricardo Worrell September 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    We’d certainly have money for such if we stop paying ppl like Maxine and her crew to idle

  3. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 23, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Include Barbados Sewage Plant, pot holes, corroded water pipes, White Hill.

  4. Tee White September 23, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    @olutoye Waldron
    You have hit the nail right on the head. We are wasting time talking about climate change when nothing is going to happen in this direction any time soon, instead of focusing our efforts on preparing for these hurricanes and planning for the most rapid recovery after they hit us. This is where we need to put our efforts instead of going on and on about climate change.

  5. Tony Webster September 24, 2017 at 5:41 am

    @Olutoye and Tee White: Right on! And write-on also. As for my dear Sunshine’s comment re “too high” prices of hardware etc…I cud agree if we only had ONE hardware store here , (like CBC) but we have several. What’s the cost of some roof straps my dear? BRING ON THE BUILDING CODE…PLUS some tax breaks for smart folks who actually re-jig their roofs, PLUS insurance rates that will reduce premia for solid homes, and penalise those who do a lackadaisical job of design and/or actual construction. What about hurricane shutters for windows too? Rocket science?
    We are doing it with water-tanks now so what the heck is stopping us doing the rest of the needed things. Perhaps politics???All the whining AFTER the event….gimme a break.

  6. Jennifer September 24, 2017 at 6:51 am

    All of this building code and cheap materials talk. Blah blah, blah. Until you understand what this climate change really is about and what will be the devastating effects of it>>>>>>>>>>>>> only then will you see that all of that talk is just a WOT. Hurricanes will be the LEAST of your worries.

  7. Chris hill September 24, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Seems like the underlying reasons is for more money to flow our way for the consolidated funds because the government is broke and need some international currency. The government has to remove all tariffs on building materials in general but nooo this would mean less dollars in the BRA.

  8. Carol Grant Cumberbatch
    Carol Grant Cumberbatch September 25, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Lord have mercy…

  9. Helicopter(8P) September 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

    We as a small nation which would be effected by the cause of climatic changes should be constantly monitoring the global situation with directily effected couintries such as Alaska, Norway and Greenland especially.

  10. Ossie Moore September 25, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Barbados as far as we can sewe has been an financial staple in the eyes of the housing, marine and property insurance industry “Praise be to God” !!

  11. Sheron Inniss September 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Before climate change there was…..

    In my opinion houses should be built more on the round side with triangular roofs. No more buildings should be on the coastal side either. (Especially if they are blocking natural water courses)

    Spacing is also important as the wind needs to go somewhere as it swirls. When the buildings are towers of Babel expect disasters of a horrific nature.

    Big brained humans have seen fit to desecrate the land, ocean and air which has resulted in the death of natural barriers; then cry real soft.


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