Hurricane hit Jamaica still open for business

Hurricane Dean may have been reduced to a category one storm and moved on to Mexico, yet some Caribbean nations, such as Jamaica are still dealing with the effects of the tropical deluge.With a general election postponed and power, as well as running water slowly being restored, the country’s tourism minister gave more than 20 interviews to the global press insisting that tourism-dependent Jamaica is “open for business.”

“The tourism infrastructure has minimal damage; the biggest challenge is now getting that message out,” Aloun N’Dombet-Assamba, the country’s tourism minister told BTN.

“The North Coast and Negril was unaffected. The public infrastructure and the road network is up and running. This year our level of preparedness is better than in the past.”

Dean was the first Category 5 storm, with winds of 165 mph, to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Although Jamaica avoided a direct hit, the island was lashed by howling winds and torrential rains, which toppled trees and power poles, and police said two people were killed.


Damage has occurred to some hotels, such as at Jakes Resort, but has not been extensive. At the reopened Kingston airport, hundreds of tourists waited hours on standby for Air Jamaica flights to U.S. destinations, according to the Toronto Star newspaper. The airport in Montego Bay has also been re-opened.

The cleanup is now under way with Eqecat, a risk consulting firm, estimating insured losses at between $1.5-billion and $3-billion in the Caribbean.

Although downgraded, Dean is expected to intensify again before reaching land for a second time, possibly between Tuxpan and Veracruz in Mexico.