LIGHTS FOR FISHERMEN AT ISLAND HARBOUR

anguillian
By anguillian November 7, 2016 11:39

 

 

A number of persons told stories about near misses at sea as the Anguilla Social Security Board held a handing over ceremony of navigation lights to fisher folk of District 1, Island Harbour, on Tuesday afternoon, November 1, outside the Social Security Office.

The theme of the ceremony was “Mitigating & Safeguarding Hazards at Sea”. Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Ms. Melisa Meade, said in part:

“The theme is particularly relevant as we can recall emergencies at sea, over the years, involving the fisher folk, some of which, very sadly, ended in tragedy. We must therefore do all that is reasonably possible to minimise the likelihood of similar unfortunate scenarios occurring in the future. This is a job for everyone, and each of us has a part to play to ensure that we mitigate hazards at sea and prevent loss of life.”

She observed that “fishing is the lifeblood of some Anguillian communities, and in order to protect our fisher folk, we need to invest in hazard education, safe practices and safe navigation.”

Director of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ms. Kafi Gumbs, recounted that on December 14, 2016, she almost lost her life due to a freak wave that swamped and overturned her boat. She noted that while some lives were lost, mitigation measures used by her department had saved several lives.

She continued: “Several people have approached the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources expressing concern that if we put navigational lights in the channel, and in other marine areas around the island, it would encourage smuggling, but smuggling will happen with or without lights.

“It is imperative that the fishers and sea-goers be guided home safely, via the aid of navigational lights – that they do not risk running their boats onto the reef, damaging their hull and engines and the reef which supports their fisheries. With the absence of navigational lights [there] are environmental risk; social risk; financial risk; and economic risk.”

Ms. Gumbs applauded the Anguilla Social Security Board, and the Department of Disaster Management, for contributing the navigational lights. They will replace the channel marker lights at Island Harbour Bay.

Ms. Palmavon Webster, the Elected Representative for District 1, praised the provision of the navigational lights. She commended Mr. Curtis Richardson, and the Ministry responsible for fisheries, for having always accepted that the safety of the fisher folk was paramount – and offered her thanks to the Minister for that commitment.

She also commended Stuart Wend, from the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, for his commitment to finding solutions to the problems of navigational hazards in District 1; and Alwyn (Jerry Dice) Richardson for his personal dedication and for ensuring that the navigational lights were made available… She expressed similar thanks to Ms. Kafi Gumbs. She added that the presentation of the navigational lights “was a momentous occasion”.

Minister Curtis Richardson was certain that the navigational lights would go a long way towards assisting fishermen in the Island Harbour community as well as other persons wishing to enter and exit the harbour. “This Government is committed to supporting all of our fishermen, and fishing endeavours, and we will continue to strive to do the very best to give them all the necessary support.”

He went on: “As you may have heard, we have a number of other lights we have to install and we will follow through on that commitment. We would like to thank all of the persons in Disaster Management for making the request – in particular Mr. Alwyn (Dice) Richardson… We thank Social Security for following through with the financing…I also want to thank the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources which will carry out the installation. I trust that we will continue to go forward to promote fishing as a way of life in Anguilla.”

Director of Social Security, Timothy Hodge, recalled having taken his family to Scrub Island and encountering severe difficulties on the return trip to Island Harbour which had no navigation lights to assist in guiding a rescue boat through the channel into the bay. He reported that, in addition to the lights for Island Harbour, the Social Security Board had received another proposal for replacement lights at Windward Point. “It is not just about Fishermen but we want our channels to be marked and so we are very happy to be associated with this handing over ceremony (for navigational lights for the fisher folk of District 1).”

Ms. Rosana Browne, Public Relations Officer with Social Security, presented one the navigational lights to Mr. Terrence Webster, a representative of the Island Harbour fishing community. In accepting it, he stressed the importance of safety at sea and hailed the cooperation of all persons and departments, including Government and Opposition representatives, for working together in the interest of the fisher folk and the fishing industry.

anguillian
By anguillian November 7, 2016 11:39

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