17 June 2013
Two weeks ago, I wrote to you about BECOL and their early warning system and the test that did not happen. I had read the ad on Channel 2 and it appeared to say May 30th. That was in fact the date their letter was written, and not the date of the proposed test. I did not know this until I was at the ATM in Atlantic Bank in San Ignacio on Tuesday, June 4, and saw the flyer in its entirety taped on the wall of the ATM. It was almost 12.00 noon, so I hung around waiting for the siren. Nothing happened
Then I saw my husband’s cousin, who said he had heard that the test was to be on Tuesday, June 11th. Later in the week, I saw someone from NEMO who invited me to go with him to see how the system worked. (He had read my letter to you in the Amandala). Unfortunately, I did not get there as I had to go to the border to send money to my husband who was in hospital in Guatemala. I got back to San Ignacio about 11.45 a.m., went and paid BEL and the phone bill on Burns Avenue, well within earshot of any siren. NOTHING HAPPENED.
When my husband got back from Guatemala, he bumped into the guy from NEMO, who said I should have been there to witness the failure of the system.
I had originally thought that this was just total incompetence or stupidity on BECOL’s part. Now I wonder if it is not all linked to Fortis and that they hope that we will get fed up with nothing being done and go away and forget about it. Who says river fish can be eaten? Who says the water is safe to swim in (or in the case of my compadre’s family, to drink)?
How will they ever organise a mass evacuation practice if they can’t even keep the siren in working order? We are due for a practice to see how people from the Twin Towns cope with reaching family on opposite sides of the river. It will take a lot of organizing: who is capable of doing it?
I am disappointed that once again, we have heard nothing from Martin Alegria at the Department of the Environment. He should surely have our safety in mind; we are part of this environment.
Sally Caretella (and Leonardo Caretella)