Senator Tucker On Hurricane Shelter Not Opening

September 18, 2023 | 6 Comments

Robin Tucker Bermuda August 30 2023[Updated] “Indications are that there are increased numbers of homeless people in Bermuda and the charities are hard pressed to keep up with the needs, so how is it that a government that claims to care about its people does not ensure that an emergency shelter, even a makeshift one is open during a hurricane,” OBA Senator Robin Tucker said.

Senator Tucker said, “Acting National Security Minister, David Burch recently said during an update that the emergency shelter at Cedarbridge Academy would not be open and that people needing shelter from Hurricane Lee should contact the “appropriate agencies” for help.

“While it is concerning that the emergency shelter was not open to receive people in need, the public was not even given the names of the agencies that could assist them – information should have been given in Min Burch’s statements, and announcements on the radio, the news and other media would have at least let people, especially vulnerable groups, know that they were thought about and directed them to specific places.

“While operating the shelter at CedarBridge is a costly undertaking, and my understanding is that certain conditions needed to be met to do so, this is not Bermuda’s first hurricane so there at least needed to be a clearly communicated plan [via radio, television, targeted word of mouth campaigns to vulnerable groups etc.] setting out to the public agency names so people know what was available to them, especially since the primary facility at Cedarbridge that most are familiar with would be closed.

“Currently, there is another storm brewing that may possibly come in our direction in a week or so, and while at this time it is too early to tell if it will directly impact us, my hope is that if it does become a real concern that the government will ensure that the shelter at CedarBridge is open but if it is not, at least the public, especially those who do not have access to social media and the internet are made aware of the options for shelter because leaving people to “figure it out” when they need help most is certainly not the best we can do for our people.”

Update: A Government spokesperson said, “It is important to note that the shelter is not solely for those who might ordinarily “sleep rough. Still, it is also for people concerned about flooding or potential damage to their homes during a storm and those who might have suffered such damage due to the storm. In this case, and in light of the forecast, this decision was taken based on the likelihood of the shelter not being required in those circumstances. During any storm or on any given day, helping agencies, regularly supported in various ways by the Government, provide services to an unsheltered population.”

Minister Burch said, “We are very thankful that the Island emerged from Hurricane Lee without any loss of life and reports of serious injuries.

“I am always sympathetic to the plight of our homeless residents. We recognise that when faced with a serious storm such as Hurricane Lee, there can be a lot of anxiety in the community as a result.

“Regarding the Government shelter, the Emergency Measures Organisation executive deemed that the threshold required to justify the shelter’s opening had not been met on this occasion, based on the storm’s severity.

“Historically, shelters were not opened for tropical storm force winds such as was the case during Hurricane Franklin and Idalia – when the shelter was not mobilised.

“In such circumstances, we encourage any resident needing safe refuge to seek the services of the Salvation Army emergency shelter.

“Having said that, there are always opportunities after a storm to make adjustments and review policies and procedures for the next event.”

click here Bermuda 2023 Hurricane Season

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Comments (6)

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  1. Storm information update says:

    I agree that shelter should be made available for people who need it during a hurricane. Moreover I believe what and when information is released to the public should be reassessed. Currently we have protocols in place to close down the causeway if winds are sustained at 50 knots. However waves were encroaching on the causeway and no one gave the public this information. It was especially important for those who were traveling in the west bound lane as they were on the windward side. So instead of saying “the causeway is being monitored” actual real time details about the road would be more helpful. For example “although the causeway remains open for passage the public is advised that waves are encroaching on the road, motorists should proceed with caution”.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    The homeless are powerless. They hold no advantage for any politician.

  3. Mark says:

    The government of Bermuda and most of the rich are pushing the average original Bermudians out. What a SHAME!

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “original Bermudians”

      Does that refer to tree frogs, Cahows or skinks?

      • Mark says:

        Grow up and take a look at history.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          Which part of history? The part where the Portuguese landed in the 1500s and created what we call Spanish Rock or the part where Sir George Summers and the first permanent settlers of these islands landed here or some other part of Bermuda’s history?

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