BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Council of Ministers, Kenneth Bryan Tuesday said the Barbados-based organization stands ready to assist members dealing with the passage of Hurricane Fiona as the category three hurricane makes its way through the region leaving atrial of death and destruction.
The storm, which is still producing strong winds and heavy rains over portions of the Turks and Caicos Islands, will gradually move away from the Turks and Caicos on Wednesday and approach Bermuda late on Thursday.
In its 5.00 pm (local time) bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that heavy rains around the center of Fiona will impact the Turks and Caicos through this evening with continued life-threatening flooding. It said localized additional flash and urban flooding is possible in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands as well as Bermuda.
“I am confident that I speak for all of my Ministerial Colleagues in saying that our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters across the Caribbean that are being impacted by the ravages of Hurricane Fiona. I sincerely hope that you, your loved ones, and colleagues are safe and secure,” Bryan said.
The Cayman Islands Minister of Tourism said he recognizes that the needs of family, friends and communities are top concern right now, “and I want you to know that the CTO stands ready to assist in whatever ways we can, if and when you need us in the weeks to come.
“As islands in the Caribbean situated in the hurricane belt, we have all faced the impact of tropical storms and hurricanes and can relate to what you are going through. We know that there will be many difficult months ahead for those for those who have been most affected.”
But Ryan said that with “our strong faith and commitment to one another’s well-being, we will get through this.
“As a region, we have strength in our collective support systems and those of us who are unaffected by Hurricane Fiona, stand ready to help our regional neighbors who are in need,”’ said, adding that “my heart is with you as we move from impact to recovery”.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) is also voicing “our solidarity with the resilient people of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as they recover from the effects of Hurricane Fiona”.
The storm had made landfall in the two countries, causing flooding in remote and rural areas of Puerto Rico, before affecting the eastern part of the Dominican Republic.
The CHTA said that the main airport, Luis Muñoz Marín Airport in San Juan has already reopened adding “we have full confidence in the ability of the people of Puerto Rico to restore normalcy in their beautiful territory”.
The hoteliers said that they are committed to hosting both the inaugural CHTA Caribbean Travel Forum and the 40th Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, October 3-5, this year “and look forward to seeing our friends and business associates at the dynamic face-to-face sessions planned for the event.
“CHTA also extends our prayers and support to those who have been impacted, including the island of Guadeloupe, and others in the storm’s path.
“While a small part of the Caribbean has been directly affected by the storm, most of the region’s 30 destinations have not been impacted and we anticipate those which have will be welcoming visitors in the coming days. “