Scott: Storm was an object lesson in power of unity
Former Premier Alex Scott says Hurricane Fabian was his first major challenge as Premier and a formative moment for his time in office.
“I called upon Bermudians to help and they did,” he told The Royal Gazette. “From there on in it remained as an object lesson as to the power of our unified action on any topic.
“We adopted the theme that Bermuda works best when working together. We incorporated that into the social agenda and we put in place several other initiatives based on the lessons learned out of Fabian.”
Mr Scott, who became Premier just weeks before the storm struck the Island, said he was amazed by the aftermath of the hurricane.
“There's no time to be emotionally caught up in it,” he said. “It requires really to be very pragmatic about what is and what has to be done, but I have to admit to go down South Shore and see roads peeled back like someone would do an orange ... the only time I have seen landscape like that was in Hawaii in the volcanic areas. That's what it looked like near John Smith's Beach.”
Following the storm, Mr Scott said he hoped to have the Island open for business in a matter of days.
“Looking back on it, that didn't seem out of the ordinary,” he said. “However, I guess it was a year or two later when New Orleans was hit. They haven't come back to normal yet.
“Bermudians working together put us in a very good place. We were up and running in certainly less than a week.”
He praised the work of Bermuda Police Service, Works and Engineering staff, and the public as a whole for the speed in which life on the Island returned to normal.
And he called the Bermuda Regiment the unsung heroes of the day, saying: “They went from the west to the east and the east to the west and opened up the main thoroughfares. As soon as you can start moving back and forwards, then folks who want to help can get back out there.
“They were so good that the next year we volunteered the Regiment to go to Cayman to help them clean up. I was confident at the skill and reliability of the Regiment.”
While Hurricane Fabian devastated the Island, Mr Scott said it also inspired the concept of catastrophic insurance, which Mr Scott said he broached at a subsequent meeting of the Dependant Territories.
“Simply stated, Bermuda might have rebounded because we have resources, but islands to the south have had their economies devastated time and time again when hurricanes pass through,” he said.
“Now they have in place catastrophic insurance that participating governments can contribute to and, if they are hit by an event like Fabian, they can now call upon resources that are in place. I and Bermuda contributed to the wherewithal of the islands to the south, based on our experience here.”