CASTRIES, St Lucia — St Lucia’s airports in the north and south of the island are now fully operational following the passage of Hurricane Tomas, a Category 1 storm, over the weekend.
Senator Allen Chastanet, St Lucia’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister, reported that over the past few days St Lucians of all walks of life joined hands in "true community spirit" to clear roads, clean debris and help communities return to a state of normalcy.
As of Tuesday, the island’s two airports — Hewanorra International Airport in the south and George F. L. Charles Airport in the north of the island — were open for business; and American Eagle had increased services at George F. L. Charles Airport to move passengers who had previously been delayed between San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St Lucia.
"We are pleased to report that major roads have been cleared and the Castries-Vieux Fort and Soufrière-Vieux Fort thoroughfares are now fully motorable," Chastanet said, thanking the state authorities, businesses and private citizens for helping facilitate critical access between the north and the south.
Electricity has been restored to 80 percent of the island while power will flow to 90 percent of the country by this weekend. Most resorts currently have adequate water, and water supply should be restored in short order after detailed inspections revealed damage to the water dam is substantially less than expected. Most businesses resumed operations this week.
Chastanet reported that "incredible improvements are being made every day to clean up debris littered throughout the island while tourism stakeholders intimated no significant damage to their properties and attractions."
Buoyed by the clean-up work of the St Lucian populace, the tourism minister declared, "We look forward to welcoming visitors by air from Europe, North America and the Caribbean with regularity from this Friday, November 5 — a week earlier than previously forecast."
Chastanet also announced that cruise ships will resume calls to the island from November 7.
"Our prayers are with our brothers and sisters here and in the Eastern Caribbean who have been affected by this storm as well as those elsewhere in the region who are bracing themselves for its arrival over the next few days," said Chastanet.
The tourism minister noted the government was working with local, regional and international partners to help deliver humanitarian assistance to communities that have been affected by Hurricane Tomas.