The decision came two days after Opposition Leader Dr. Orlando Smith criticised the continuance of the designation, saying it sent the wrong message to visitors who may want to visit during the upcoming tourist season.
The governor originally declared the state of emergency after consultation with Premier Ralph O’Neal, issuing orders on the basis of initial impact assessment reports and advice from department heads, according to Government Information Services.
“In the period following the flash flood events, I kept the premier and Cabinet fully informed of developments,” Mr. McCleary said. “I also maintained regular contact with the Department of Disaster Management, the Public Works Department and the Attorney General’s Chambers to ensure that the state of emergency was lifted as soon as measures to alleviate the flooding were completed.”
The revocation means the territory is now officially in a recovery phase. The Premier’s Office, which is responsible for this stage of disaster management, has already commenced efforts similar to actions taken after Hurricane Earl, according to GIS.
In the coming days and weeks, DDM will continue to collect all relevant damage- and needs-assessment information, which will be submitted to the Premier’s Office for analysis.
Meanwhile, the department is notifying residents who have suffered any impact from Tropical Storm Otto that the deadline to submit claims is Oct. 31. This deadline will allow sufficient time for the claims to be assessed and submitted to the Disaster Fund Committee established under the Disaster Management Act 2003, officials said.
Experts have determined that the flash flooding of Oct. 5-6 was a “50-year flood event,” which dumped some 24.98 inches of rain on the territory over a three-day period, according to GIS.
During a press conference at his House of Assembly office on Friday, Dr. Smith commended the governor for his response to the disaster.
“We were all pleased to see him out and about the various affected communities reassuring residents that help was on the way and so on,” Dr. Smith said.
However, he added that he was concerned that “the premier and his colleagues were not more directly involved in a situation where the people of this territory were suffering.”
The opposition leader went on to criticise the continuance of the state of emergency.
“The message that we are sending to our visitors who are making their plans for the season that is on our doorstep is unhelpful and downright discouraging,” he said.
The opposition leader also mentioned that during the state of emergency, the premier declared that the territory was “open for business.” Such mixed messages, he said, are confusing.
“Cabinet having agreed with the institution of the state of emergency, I am hereby asking for their confirmation that they have indicated to His Excellency the governor that it is time to end the state of emergency and truly have this territory open for business,” Dr Smith told reporters Friday.
In the meantime, he urged leaders to request assistance that normally comes in a state of emergency.
“As well as major structural damage to our infrastructure, losses in which a situation where government income is reduced due to the world recession, and in a small economy such as ours, become even more significant,” he said.