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Baron praises EMO efforts

“We were not lucky, but prepared.”

That was the message from Senator Jeff Baron as he hailed preparation efforts across the community that helped ensure the country was quickly returning to normal in the wake of Hurricane Nicole.

The Category 3 hurricane brought prolonged 120mph winds, torrential rain and a significant storm surge as it battered the island throughout Thursday.

The Minister of National Security was also quick to praise the tireless work of the Emergency Measures Organisation, the crews working to restore power and infrastructure and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

“We need to stop saying we were spared,” Mr Baron said. “Bermuda was ready. We should stop saying we were lucky, instead we were strong, and we are never stronger than we are as a community united.”

The latest update from the EMO confirmed that the ferry service would return to normal today, while the bus service is also expected to resume today.

An assessment of Government schools is still ongoing, but Mr Baron said: “We will aim to have them reopened on Monday, although a final confirmation will be made early on Sunday.”

The airport reopened yesterday at about noon, allowing the first flights to arrive in Bermuda since before the hurricane, while cruise schedules will return to normal this week.

Commissioner of Police, Michael DeSilva, told this afternoon's press conference that police patrols were put out during the eye of the storm in St George's, Somerset and Hamilton in light of speculation on social media that criminals could use the lull in the storm to target businesses.

“We don't usually do that,” he said. “But with the advice of the Bermuda Weather Service we knew we had a window and so put some police officers out there.” Mr DeSilva added: “We were pleased we had a relatively incident free storm that was only marred by the shooting incident that has already been reported.”

Michael Dunkley praised the work of the EMO for its “fearless guidance during an anxious and tense time” and said that “tremendous progress” had been made in the clearup.

He also spoke of his pride seeing Bermudians across the island working together to rebuild their homes and neighbourhoods. “Bermuda is strong, Bermuda is resilient and Bermuda is blessed,” said Mr Dunkley.

In a statement last night, Walter Roban, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said: “The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, like all of Bermuda, is relieved that despite the strength of Hurricane Nicole, Bermuda has fared well and is busy getting back in form. We are relieved that there has been no loss of life nor any irreparable damage, as instances such as these remind us of how delicate life can be. We encourage the government to waive dumping fees so that things can be disposed of quickly and easily for all people.

“These times show the best of us, and our strength as a community as we work together to see Bermuda through this period.”

John Martin, Belco linesman, removing debris from a power line in Somerset (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published October 15, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 15, 2016 at 9:13 am)

Baron praises EMO efforts

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