‘Crap Happens’ – So What Now?

Go Lean Commentary

The peril of a hurricane is a constant threat for Caribbean life, for all 30 member-states. It is assured that some Caribbean location will be impacted every year. While there is no guarantee for a strike “here or there”, there is a guarantee that there will be a strike somewhere.

“Bad things happen to good people”.

11  I have seen something further under the sun, that the swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all. 12  For man does not know his time. Just as fish are caught in an evil net and birds are caught in a trap, so the sons of men are ensnared in a time of disaster, when it suddenly overtakes them. – Ecclesiastes 9:11,12 NWT

There is concern for the whole region, and for individual communities. Let’s consider one example…

The people of Freeport, Grand Bahama, in the Bahamas are good people! The impact of Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 was a bad thing; (especially after 2 earlier storms in 2004). This is a classic example of “bad things happening to good people”.  See the article reference here:

Title: Effects of Hurricane Wilma in The Bahamas

CU Blog - Crap Happens - So What Now - Photo 1The effects of Hurricane Wilma in The Bahamas were generally unexpected and primarily concentrated on the western portion of Grand Bahama. Hurricane Wilma developed on October 15, 2005 in the Caribbean Sea, and after initially organizing slowly it explosively deepened to reach peak winds of 185 mph (295 km/h) and a record-low pressure of 882 mbar (hPa). It weakened and struck eastern Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and accelerated northeastward to make landfall on southwestern Florida on October 24. After crossing the state, Wilma briefly re-strengthened in the open Atlantic Ocean, moving north of The Bahamas before weakening and later becoming an extra-tropical cyclone.[1]

On October 24, Hurricane Wilma made its closest approach to The Bahamas, passing about 150 km (90 mi) north-northwest of Freeport.[1] While passing the archipelago, Wilma produced hurricane force winds and powerful storm surge, flooding southwestern coastal areas of Grand Bahama and destroying hundreds of buildings. Damage totaled about $100 million (2005 USD), almost entirely on the western half of the island. Central Grand Bahama, including the Freeport area, reported minor to moderate damage, while the eastern end received little to no damage. One child died on the island from the flooding.

On Grand Bahama Island, Wilma produced sustained winds of 155 km/h (95 mph) and a gust of 178 km/h (111 mph).[4] The hurricane also produced a storm surge of over 3.7 m (12 ft),[1] reportedly as high as 6.1 m (20 ft) along the southwestern portion of the island.[3] The surge, which moved about 305 m (1,000 ft) inland, caused large-scale flooding that washed away or destroyed about 800 homes.[5][6] Damage was estimated at $100 million (2005 USD) on the western portion of the island. Excluding the southwestern region of Grand Bahama, the majority of the island reported minor wind damage, and the eastern end of the island reported little, or no, damage.[5] Over 7,000 people on the island were directly affected by the hurricane, many of whom had not fully recovered from hurricanes Frances and Jeanne during the previous year.[3]

CU Blog - Crap Happens - So What Now - Photo 2Significant damage was reported in coastal areas of Grand Bahama Island, with widespread destruction of roofs and vehicles, along with downed poles and trees.[1] Power and telephone services were disrupted throughout the island.[3] A total of 400 structures sustained damage, of which about 200 commercial buildings were severely damaged and recommended by engineers not to be repaired.[5] Among the destroyed buildings were a police station on the western end and several buildings in Freeport.[7] More than 500 automobiles were flooded,[5] including five police cars.[7] The storm surge also raised 54 corpses in five graveyards on the island.[5] Several resorts were closed for an extended period of time,[5] all on the western portion of the island. One hotel, the Xanadu Beach and Marine Resort, reported about $3.5 million in damage (2005 USD), including numerous destroyed windows designed to withstand hurricane force winds.[8] Further to the east, numerous houses and commercial buildings lost their roofs in the city of Freeport. One serious traffic accident occurred when the winds overturned a bus, inflicting injuries on the driver. Several other traffic accidents were reported in the area, although none were severe. During the passage of the hurricane, five cases of looting were reported, of which one person was caught in the process.[7] Storm surge from the hurricane killed one child,[3] the only casualty directly related to Wilma in the archipelago.[1]

CU Blog - Crap Happens - So What Now - Photo 3By about two days after the passage of Hurricane Wilma, 800 residents on Grand Bahama remained in shelters,[3] including 65 families who lost their homes and stayed in a hotel set up as a government shelter in Freeport.[5] On Bimini, most residents who evacuated to shelters returned to their homes within two days of the hurricane.[3] The Bahamian Red Cross quickly assessed the damage on Grand Bahama and Bimini, and successfully requested to be included under the federation’s hurricane appeal for Central America. Local Red Cross chapters mobilized all available resources to assist the residents most affected. The Bahamian Red Cross began a three-month program to distribute food and other items to 1,000 of the 3,500 affected families, primarily on Grand Bahama; the remaining 2,500 families received assistance from the government and other organizations. Volunteers delivered building materials and provided water vouchers to those affected. In Nassau, the Red Cross disaster contingency stock sent a boat with food items, blankets, health kits, tarpaulins and water.[11] About a week after the hurricane, the United States Agency for International Development began providing $50,000 (2005 USD) to the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency for the purchase and distribution of emergency supplies. The agency also provided $9,000 (2005 USD) for locally contracted helicopter assessments in the affected areas.[10] Red Cross agencies throughout the Caribbean Sea provided hygienic kits, plastic sheeting, blankets, and jerry cans.[11]

Electricians had power restored to the Freeport area by the day after the storm,[2] and had power restored to most of the western portion of the island within three weeks after the hurricane.[5] Work crews quickly removed road debris and tree limbs, and by the day after the passage of Wilma most roads were cleared. The passage of the hurricane left 1,000–4,000 people and hundreds of animals homeless. In response, the Grand Bahama Humane Society distributed about 340 kg (750 lb) of dog food and treated or euthanized injured animals, depending on their condition.[6] The earlier effects of Wilma on Mexico left many tourist areas in that country closed, leading to a 10% increase in tourism in the Bahamas in December 2005.[12] By about three weeks after the hurricane, the airport on Grand Bahama Island was reopened, and all but one resort were also reopened;[13] the remaining resort was reopened about two months after the hurricane.[14]
Source: Wikipedia Online Reference Source – Retrieved February 13, 2016 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Wilma_in The Bahamas

The City of Freeport got special recognition in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. It was cited for this recognition as a token of what was wrong in the Caribbean, plus how to reform and transform the communities. So what lessons can we all learn from Hurricane Wilma’s rampage in Freeport in 2005?

This incident is an example that “Crap Happens”. This represented a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to everyday life for the everyday man in the City of Freeport and surrounding areas. The lesson is not just for potential “911 dangers” in a community but rather for regional catastrophes, throughout the Caribbean. This includes natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, forest fires, etc.), industrial incidents (chemical & oil spills), bacterial & viral pandemics and terrorism-related events.

This discussion is presented in conjunction with the Go Lean book. It asserts that bad things (and bad actors) will always emerge to disrupt the peace and harmony in communities. All Caribbean member-states need to be on guard and prepared for this possibility.

The Go Lean book (Page 23) prepares for many modes of “bad things/actors”. It defines them as industrial mishaps, natural disasters and other “acts of God”. The book relates that these happenings are historical facts that are bound to be repeated, again and again.

So now that we accept the premise that “Crap Happens”, can we better prepare for the eventuality of bad things happening to good people?

“When we fail to plan, we plan to fail”.

This point is pronounced early in the book with the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) that claims:

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

ii. Whereas the natural formation of the landmass for our lands constitutes some extreme seismic activity, it is our responsibility and ours alone to provide, protect and promote our society to coexist, prepare and recover from the realities of nature’s occurrences.

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

So the Go Lean book relates that the Caribbean must appoint “new guards”, or a security apparatus, to ensure public safety and to include many strategies, tactics and implementations considered “best-practices” for Emergency Management (Preparation and Response). We must be on a constant vigil against these “bad actors”, man-made or natural. This indicates being pro-active in monitoring, mitigating and managing risks. Then when “crap” does happen, as it always will, the region’s “new guards” must be prepared for any “Clear and Present” danger.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU would roll the charters of all Emergency Management agencies in the region into one initiative, not replacing the individual Emergency Management operations, but rather providing a Unified Command and Control for Emergency operations to share, leverage and collaborate their practice across the whole region. (A previous blog-commentary detailed the historicity – and failures of the current Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency or CDEMA).

The Go Lean/CU roadmap has a focus of optimizing Caribbean society through economic empowerment, and homeland security. Emergency preparedness and response is paramount for this quest. In fact, the Go Lean roadmap has the following 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and the Caribbean homeland.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The CU Homeland Security forces have to always be “on guard”, on alert for real or perceived threats. The legal concept is one of being deputized by the sovereign authority for a role/responsibility in the member-state. So when “crap” happens, these CU forces are expected to aid, assist, and support local resources in these member-states. The request is that all Caribbean member-states empower this Homeland Security force to execute this limited scope on their sovereign territories. The legal basis for this empowerment is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), embedded in the CU treaty from Step One/Day One. This would authorize the CU for its role and responsibility for all the “crap” that could happen in jeopardizing the peace and prosperity of the Caribbean people. The CU Trade Federation would lead, fund and facilitate this Emergency Management functionality under the discretion of a regionally elected Commander-in-Chief for the CU.

CU Blog - Caribbean Ghost Towns - It Could Happen - Photo 5The foregoing article relates $100 million of economic impact of Hurricane Wilma on Freepot. Freeport could not afford that! Even now – 10 years later – the community is still reeling from that economic chaos. In some circles, Freeport is considered a “ghost town” – see photo here of the once bustling International Bazaar. So preparing effectively for disasters must include economic and financial solutions as well. The Go Lean roadmap details financial solutions, in preparing for the financial responsibility of the region’s disaster needs. Consider this quotation (Page 196) from the book:

There is also a financial battlefield for Emergency Management. Reinsurance “sidecars” allow investment bonds to be issued in the financial marketplaces to raise casualty insurance capital. The differences between premiums (plus reserves) and claims equal the profit to be shared with investors. The end result should be an insurance fund of last resort.

This reinsurance “sidecar” strategy is a win-win for communities, insurance companies and investors. (Imagine bonuses and dividend checks distributed every year on December 2, as the hurricane season ends on December 1). This type of solution aligns with the popular movement in many US States (and other democracies) that motorists provide financial solutions in face of the risks (to themselves and others) of operating motor vehicles. These provisions are defined as the ‘Financial Responsibility Law’. The technical definition of this provision is as follows:

A law which requires an individual to prove that he or she is able to pay for damages resulting from an accident. A financial responsibility law does not specifically require the individual to have insurance coverage; instead, the law requires the individual to be able to demonstrate the financial capacity to pay, even if the individual is not at fault. This type of law is commonly associated with automobiles.

… many states consider an individual with an insurance policy to be compliant with a financial responsibility law, since most insurance policies have a minimum coverage that meets the State’s standard.

Source: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/financial-responsibility-law.asp#ixzz40CobgMfg retrieved February 14, 2016.

Consider the VIDEO here of an American insurance company’s commercial advertising:

VIDEO: Liberty Mutual Insurance TV Commercial – Fully Replace Lost Propertyhttps://youtu.be/P7tkWIsr5zQ

TV Commercial – At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we pay to fully replace damaged property so you don’t have to touch your savings. Learn more here: https://www.libertymutual.com/

The Caribbean is arguably the “greatest address on the planet”, but there is risk associated with living deep in a tropical zone. With the reality of Climate Change, we must not be caught unprepared. We do not want our citizens fleeing their homeland … anymore; we want them to prosper where they are planted. So as a community, we must provide assurances. While this is a heavy-lifting task, this is the purpose of the Go Lean/CU roadmap. So the message is clear:

“We will have the finances to restore the economic engines after any natural disaster”.

The Go Lean book details the series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to provide the proactive and reactive public safety/security in the Caribbean region:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in Future Page 21
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederating a non-sovereign permanent union Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Climate Change Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – How to Grow the Economy – Recover from Disasters Page 70
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Department Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Agency Page 76
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Meteorological and Geological Service Page 79
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Start-up Homeland Security Initiatives Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Re-boot Freeport Page 112
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – #3: Consolidated Homeland Security Pact Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Escalation Role Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy – Quick Disaster Recovery Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Wall Street – Adopt Advanced Reinsurance Products Page 200

Other subjects related to Emergency Management, Homeland Security and governing empowerments for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentaries, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7327 Zika – An Epidemiology Crisis – A 4-Letter Word
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7235 Flint, Michigan – A Cautionary Tale
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6893 A Meteorologist’s View On Climate Change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6563 Lessons from Iceland – Model of Recovery
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6189 A Lesson in History – Hurricane ‘Katrina’ is helping today’s crises
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6103 Sum of All Fears – ‘On Guard’ Against Deadly Threats
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5002 Managing a ‘Clear and Present Danger’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4741 Vanuatu and Tuvalu Cyclone – Inadequate response to human suffering
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4360 Dreading the ‘Caribbean Basin Security   Initiative’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4185 Caribbean Ghost Towns: It Could Happen…Again
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2614 The ‘Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill / Planning / Preparations
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2397 Stopping a Clear and Present Danger: Ebola
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1817 Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=87 Fact, not fiction: 6.5M Earthquake Shakes Eastern Caribbean

The Caribbean is on the frontlines of this Climate Change-induced storm battle! We are not the only ones; there are winners (consider northern cities with milder than normal winters) and losers. The Caribbean has found itself on the losing side; consider the experience of Freeport in the foregoing article. This could mean life-and-death for the people and the economic engines of Caribbean communities.

This reflects the change that the Caribbean region now has to endure. The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that this “Agent of Change” is too big for just any one member-state to tackle alone, that there must be a regional solution; and presents this roadmap.

The people and institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap; this plan is conceivable, believable and achievable. We can make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.  🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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