Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Heartbroken! - Commonwealth secretary general still mourning the devastation of her homeland by Hurricane Maria

Published:Sunday | October 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall
Scotland
This September 23 photo shows some of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Maria in Roseau, the capital of Dominica.
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One month after Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica, Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland remains heartbroken over the devastation to the small island which is the land of her birth.

"It was absolutely heart-breaking," Scotland told The Sunday Gleaner. "It's a hard time, it's a very hard time," added Scotland, who keeps close ties to her Dominican roots.

"And you know it is very difficult because most of us think we are very robust and tough. If you have been through this before, we went through (Hurricane) Erica and my father used to say, 'get up and fight, get up and fight,' but I have to tell you when I saw the devastation of my beautiful country, maybe for the first time, I just couldn't help weeping," said Scotland.

"I think many of us were just devastated. And to hear prime ministers literally breaking down, I think you know just how bad it is," added Scotland, as she pointed to the emotional responses from Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica and Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda.

The secretary general said it was unlikely that anyone who saw the devastation of Dominica, where an estimated 26 persons were killed and a further 31 persons still unaccounted for, could be unmoved.

"When you see what happened to men, women, children. You see people running with babies in their arms and you know the heartbreak of so many people who don't even know where their loved ones are because they can't find them," bemoaned Scotland, who underscored that this was a terrible moment for the entire region.

 

STRONG, RESILIENT PEOPLE

 

"But we in the Caribbean are strong people, we are resilient people, we are also loving people, and I have been so touched by the kindness and the generosity of our region because people from all over have come to give us (Dominicans) help, to give us assistance, and I think we have to say God bless each and every one of them."

Much of Dominica remains without power or running water and one-fifth of the 73,000 people living on the island have reportedly left.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com