Rains Dampen Barbados’ 50th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations


Flooding was reported all across the island. (Photo: Barbados Today)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday November 30, 2016
– Overcast skies loomed ominously over Barbados today, still damp from yesterday’s heavy downpours described by some citizens as an unwelcomed birthday surprise.

The dark sky poured out its contents for hours on end yesterday, drenching the island which was gearing for a grand climax to its 50th Independence celebrations.

The deluge held just before British Prince Harry arrived at the Bridgetown Port to a red carpet welcome befitting royalty. Once he was ferried off to meeting with the island’s Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, the interaction between a trough system and the Tropical Convergence Zone made its presence.

Houses, businesses and roads were left under water, trees were uprooted and power lines toppled.

The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) said it had been monitoring the system which also battered St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, but it was unprepared for the impact.

“We saw the effects in Dominica and St Vincent, but we did not anticipate that it would hit us for the entire day, nor did we foresee the amount of rain which fell,” programme officer at the Department of Emergency Management Danielle Skeete told the Barbados Today online newspaper.

The system dumped between three to six inches of rain on the island, forcing the early closure of schools and government offices as well the postponement of iconic national events including the grand Independence parade, which was slated for this morning.


The Garrison Savannah, where the highly anticipated Independence Day parade was to be held was left waterlogged. (Photo: Barbados Today)


Emergency personnel, including officers from the Barbados Fire Service, had to brave the persistent showers to rescue more than a dozen people who were marooned in their homes and at least another two trapped in their vehicles.

A preliminary report issued by the DEM yesterday evening revealed that nine homes were damaged as a result of flooding in St George, Christ Church, St Philip and St Michael, while downed utility poles were also reported in St Thomas and St Philip. This resulted in power outages in St Philip; Warrens, St Michael; and parts of Christ Church.

Today, crews from the Barbados Light & Power were still working feverishly in St Philip, St Thomas, St Andrew and St Joseph to restore electricity.

Meanwhile, personnel were busy at the Garrison Savannah under threatening skies to ready the historic landmark for the 50th Anniversary National Independence Monument and Golden Anniversary Spectacular Mega Concert, featuring international star Rihanna singing the National Anthem.

Both events will be attended by Prince Harry who delivered a message on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of the island’s Independence anniversary.

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