Sometimes a force as strong as a category four hurricane that disrupts life as we know and live it will also bring unexpected bonuses as we adjust to new patterns of living. The University has been honoured to facilitate a number of national and regional meetings and gatherings at the Bell Lecture and Caribbean House Great Halls.
Grenada Parliament finds a temporary home at the Bell Lecture Hall.
The House of Representatives, the lower House of Parliament, held a session at the Bell Lecture Hall on Friday, 5th November, 2004. It was the first session since Ivan struck Grenada on September 7th. York House, the seat of the Grenada Parliament suffered significant damage as a result of the hurricane and was unable to accommodate the proceedings. When the Speaker of the House of Representatives approached St. George’s University for a suitable venue to convene Parliament, the University readily offered the Bell Lecture Hall. The first post-IVAN sitting began at 9:00 a.m. and concluded at 6:00 p.m. This session was particularly important because it gave voice to concerns about and suggestions for the total reconstruction of Grenada in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
The House of Representatives met for a second time at the Bell Lecture Hall on Thursday, 18th November, while the Senate, the Upper House, held its first session at SGU on November 16th, 2004.
The Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Tours the University
Dr. Denis Paul, Dr. Periago, and Dr. Macpherson
The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Mirta Roses Periago has met with officials of St. George’s University and the Windward Islands Research & Education Foundation (WINDREF) at SGU.
On a visit to Grenada, during a two-day PAHO workshop on Visioning for the Future, Dr. Roses met with Acting Provost, Dr. Denis Paul and the Director of WINDREF and the Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Calum Macpherson. Discussion centered around greater collaboration in research between the University, WINDREF and PAHO.
Dr. Roses was pleased to hear of the University’s success in resuming all programs just weeks after the passage of IVAN. She was also briefed on plans for reconstruction work at the University, which suffered major roof damage during Hurricane IVAN, as well as the areas in which SGU and WINDREF are aiding the Grenada reconstruction effort.
In addition, various student organisations and faculty and staff have found unique ways of relieving tension.
Staff & Student Gatherings
Staff, faculty and students have organised various activities to allow for greater, constructive engagement of each other in informal social settings. These activities have been well attended and praised for their success in reminding individuals that they ought not to take themselves too seriously. The initiatives have included games, office socials and parties.
The most recent of these was a fete/talent show for staff and faculty at Caribbean House. One noteworthy performance came from Western Art History lecturer, Mike Meranski, who wrote and recorded a music video about recovery after IVAN. He has given the rights of the song to the School of Arts & Sciences.
Even the rain could not dampen the spirits of the participants, who, on more than one occasion, laughed till they cried.
November 24, 2004
Two months after Hurricane Ivan dramatically changed all aspects of life in Grenada, there is obvious evidence of recovery. Life is again beginning to be shaped by realities outside of the parameters of Hurricane IVAN, a wonderful sign of some normality. Roofs are replacing some tarpaulins, roads have been completely cleared and cleaned, in most areas. The landscape has been transformed to rolling green hills and overgrown shrubbery, compared to the dry, broken trees that dominated in the immediate period following IVAN. The vast majority of Grenadians now speak of reconstruction, rather than relief, all positive signs of a nation well on its way to recovery.
Having welcomed back almost 300 returning Arts & Sciences, premedical/preveterinary, and Masters of Public Health students on to the True Blue campus September 28th and October 4th, the University staff, faculty and administration have settled down to providing support services for the students in Grenada and for the professional programs temporarily operating in the United States. In addition, faculty and staff in Grenada are assisting with the reconstruction effort.
There was no structural damage to the buildings or to the infrastructure on the campus according to the assessors and insurance companies who examined the campus post-Ivan. Most of the displaced roof tiles on the campus have been removed and broken windows sealed to minimize any additional water damage to campus.
Scores of workers are repairing roofs and subroofs. The campus has been cleared of debris deposited by the hurricane and the early construction phase. The roof on the Chancellery has been repaired and the inside painted. A number of other roofs have been sealed, including the Bourne Centre, Buildings B & C and a number of dorms. Work is proceeding on the Bell Lecture Hall, the Science Building, Anatomy and WINDREF and Founder’s Library.
Housing: Over 50% of the dormitory rooms are habitable and are being used to accommodate Arts & Sciences and Graduate students as well as relief workers and foreign electricity workers, who are assisting with the reconstruction of Grenada’s infrastructure.
Landlords in the True Blue, Grand Anse and surrounding areas are also working tirelessly to repair their rental properties.
Communications: The infrastructure of the phone and fax lines is intact, and the lines are working, with a few disruptions to service. Mobile phones remain the most reliable means of communications. However, the phone service is getting demonstrably better each day. University personnel can be contacted via e-mail. The University can also be reached through its regular central telephone number: (473) 444-4175.
Water supply: There is an adequate supply of water on campus.
Power: The University has installed a second generator, a 1.2 megawatt generating plant, into the campus generator building which already houses a 1.5 megawatt auxiliary generator. With these two plants, we have a total of 2.7 megawatts of power. This not only meets our needs, but the needs of the entire True Blue peninsula. Since the new generating plant is designed to run at half the rpms of the auxilliary generator, there will be lower fuel costs and more efficiency.
Library: The library is presently open to students from 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Our computer labs, which open until midnight, continue to be available to the university community so that they can keep in touch with friends and family via the internet.
There have been no reported crimes on the campus and reported storm-related crimes have all but vanished.
Safety of the university community and visitors to campus continues to be a priority for the administration. On Monday, 23rd November the University began a two-week training course for 19 SGU security officers at the Caribbean House Great Hall. The training course, which is being conducted by a Trinidadian Security team, is intended to equip the officers to carry out their duties in a non-intrusive, but effective manner.
The military personnel from the Regional Security Services that were being hosted on campus have moved off campus because the field they were occupying was flooded by the annual November rains. The university security team continues to be vigilant and have tightened security at the point of entry and the point of exit of the university.
The progress that is made each week is astonishing. Stores and businesses are continuing to reopen and others are preparing to do so in time for Christmas. The vast majority of businesses are now operating at pre-IVAN hours. Houses are being repaired; and utilities are being restored at an astonishing rate.
First cruise ship to visit Grenada since IVAN, called on Tuesday, November 9th, 2004 with close to two thousand passengers. Since then, thousands of other passengers have visited on other ships. British Airways, like other airlines has returned to normal operations and is reportedly traveling at full capacity.
Air travel: The Point Salines International Airport resumed commercial operations from Monday, September 13, 2004. At the present time it is open for daily operations from 6:30 a.m., compared to 5:30 a.m. (pre-IVAN) and closes at 10:00 p.m., only half an hour earlier than its pre-IVAN hours.
Power: The Grenada Electricity Company, ably assisted by regional and international organizations, is working tirelessly to restore power to the island. Power has been restored to the hospital, to the town of St. George, and some surrounding communities. The areas include Lowther’s Lane, Grand Anse, True Blue and L’ Anse Aux Epines, Springs, Woodlands, Fort Jeudy & Westerhall Point and Calivigny. Teams have already connected parts of St. John’s, St. Marks’, St. Patrick’s and St. Andrew’s and have begun work in St. David’s.
Water: Service has been restored to the vast majority of communities and businesses throughout the island.
Communications: All telephone companies on the island are operational. Mobile phones are working and are for the time being, the main medium of communication. A number of land lines, including, most at the University, are functional and Cable & Wireless crews are continuing to restore others.
Cable: Grenada Cablevision is also working hard to restore services and has published a schedule for reconnection. Some communities in the south of the island are already enjoying service.
Food Supplies: The Food Fair, Bulk Buy and CK’s supermarkets, all located in the Grand Anse area are open for business daily. Supermarkets in the town of St. George and shops around the country are also operating. Real Value Supermarket and Foodland Supermarket are both working towards opening by January.
Aquarium, True Blue Bay, Bananas, Red Crab, Water’s Edge at Bel Air Plantation, Chef’s Castle, Nutmeg Restaurant and Tout Bagay are open for business.
Triple Reels Cinema at Excel Plaza and the video/DVD stores have also reopened.
Banking facilities: All commercial banks are open from 8:00-2:00 p.m., one hour shy of their normal hours, with a 3:00 p.m. closing time on Fridays. ATM machines are operational.
Medicine: Over the counter and prescription medications are available at pharmacies throughout the island.
Security: The security situation is greatly improved from the period immediately following the storm, although a 12 midnight – 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect.
Carriacou & Petite Martinique: Grenada’s Sister Islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique were relatively unaffected by Hurricane IVAN.
Please see the related article on SGU/WINDREF relief efforts on the island.
Published on 11/24/2004