Climate crisis progress criticised as resorts reopen after Hurricane Beryl

Caribbean destinations have reopened following the devastating passage of Hurricane Beryl, the first major hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season.

The earliest category-five Atlantic hurricane on record, Beryl caused major damage last week in Grenada’s northern islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique and on several islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, such as Union Island and Canouan.

Hurricane Beryl also struck Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Yucatan Peninsula and Texas, with 20 fatalities confirmed across the region.

More: Updated: Mexican resorts braced for Beryl as hurricane warnings issued

Airports shut as Hurricane Beryl heads towards Jamaica

Sandals and Beaches resort staff prepare for Hurricane Beryl

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned that the North Atlantic could get as many as seven major hurricanes this year – up from an average of three in a season.

As relief efforts began, the prime ministers of Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines criticised the efforts of developed nations to tackle global warming.

Dickon Mitchell, Grenada’s PM, said the hurricane is a “direct result” of the climate crisis, adding: “We are no longer prepared to accept that it is OK for us to constantly suffer significant loss and damage arising from climatic events…while the countries that are responsible for creating the situation and exacerbating the situation sit idly by with platitudes and tokenism. We demand and deserve climate justice.”

Ralph Gonsalves, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ PM, urged the “major emitters of greenhouse gases” to honour the commitments they have made on a range of climate issues.

Announcing the reopening of airports and cruise ports last week, the Jamaica Tourist Board said: “With a strong destination assurance framework in place, Jamaica’s tourism sector was well prepared as staff and guests remained safe during the storm.”

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ tourism minister, Carlos James, thanked Royal Caribbean as the cruise line sent relief supplies to the destination on Rhapsody of the Seas within 24 hours of his request on July 4.

The destination’s tourism board said it does not yet have reopening details for all properties that were affected but said SVG is “still open for business”.

It said in a statement: “Despite the formidable challenges, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines (SVG) has shown incredible resilience with all stakeholders tirelessly working to rebuild and restore the beauty of our islands.

“While some areas are in the initial phase of recovery, some remain open and ready to offer visitors a memorable vacation. Numerous SVG establishments are already welcoming visitors during the culmination of a scaled-down Vincy Mas [carnival].”

The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) said the destination’s hotels and attractions are fully operational and it is “ready and eager” to welcome visitors.

Petra Roache, GTA chief executive, said: “By choosing to support our local businesses, restaurants, hotels, and local attractions in The Spice Isle, you are not only enjoying a memorable vacation, but you are also contributing to the recovery and growth of communities.”

Rhapsody of the Seas also visited Grenada on Tuesday, bringing relief aid as well as a visit from 2,377 holidaymakers.

Sandals confirmed its resorts in Grenada, Saint Vincent and Jamaica were fully operational.

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