Hurricanes ravage Caribbean, challenge colonial powers

The Caribbean is a glorious part of the world, except during hurricane season. The powerful storms known as Harvey and Irma were especially cruel these past couple of weeks. Irma in particular cut a swath of destruction that can only be described as catastrophic.

Unlike twisters and earthquakes which strike with almost no warning, an Atlantic hurricane offers a fair amount of lead time to get ready. With that in mind, thousands of people thought it would be a good idea to get on a plane and get away from islands like St. Maarten, Barbuda and the Turks and Caicos. But that requires the former colonial masters of those places to get organized with an emergency plan. The same goes for the huge relief effort that’s needed after the storm has passed.

The record of all this in the wake of Irma seemed to depend on which former colonial power was involved. Dutch territories in the region received a visit from the King, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. In St. Maarten, they caught a visit from the young president of France, Emmanual Macron… pretty impressive.

The last to arrive in the former British territories was Boris Johnson, the whirling dervish of a Foreign Secretary who’s rather busy these days, trying to secure a divorce from the European Union.

The Brits didn’t do all that well, either before or after the hurricane. Neither did their former colony that lies north of the United States. That would be us fellow citizens.

Canadians who had to ride out the storm felt abused and abandoned, and they weren’t shy about saying so. It was not a stellar moment for Trudeau the selfie boy, and other members of his team. They were huddled in Newfoundland , planning strategy for the new session of parliament.

Chrystia Freeland and Marc Garneau seemed to spend the better part of a day, taking turns apologizing.

The Prime Minister could at least have paid a brief visit to the region to show the Maple Leaf flag.

Does he not have a fancy place to stay for free in the Bahamas?

Hopefully the hurricane season will soon be over.

I’m Roger Currie

Roger Currie


Veteran radio journalist, now working primarily as a writer, commentator and freelance voice. My regular commentary "Currie's Corner" is heard on CJNU ( Nostalgia Radio ) at 93.7 FM. Text and audio can be found at I also do a daily newscast on CJNU, at about 7.15 & 8.15, every weekday morning. It's also posted on the CNC homepage.

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