Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 16th 2013 Contents A28
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 16, 2013
Better be ready
Are you ready for ahurricane?
HURRICANE SAFETY TIPS
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Before a hurricane:
The hurricane season lasts from June through
November, with August and September being
the peak months.
Know the location of the nearest emergency
shelter in your area.
Trim the trees in your yard, especially those
near your home, so limbs won't fly around
during a storm.
If you have hurricane shutters, inspect them
now and repair damaged ones. Know how to
install them, and if you will be boarding up
your windows, have the wood and tools ready.
Know the location of the main electrical
breaker and the gas and water valves in your
home. Have a clear path to easily access them
to shut them off when a hurricane approach-
Make a list of the items in and around your
yard to bring in or tie down when a tropical
storm or hurricane approaches. For example:
TV antenna, plants, garbage cans and yard fur-
Check your insurance policy for coverage on
wind and flood damage, especially if you''re in
a low-lying area.
Keep a portable radio, flashlight (both with
extra batteries), emergency supplies, first aid
kit, canned food and bottled water on hand
throughout the hurricane season.
Keep yourself updated as to the weather con-
ditions and the possibilities of severe weather.
Have your emergency numbers at hand and in
a convenient location.
Designate an interior room with no windows
or external doors as a "Safe Room." Work
with your local professionals in the design of
Discuss the types of potential hazards with
your family and know your community's and
Determine escape routes and places to meet if
Have an out-of-the-area-friend as a family
contact so all have a single point of contact
and someone knows where you are.
Make a plan for your pets if you need to evac-
Take First Aid and CPR classes. Your Red Cross
can help you.
Stay away from windows and stay inside if you
are not told to evacuate.
Beware that the centre of a hurricane, or the
eye, can be very calm and deceptive. When
the eye passes, the storm is not over. Stay
inside because the fury of the winds will
return, this time from the opposite direction.
Remain in your safe location until the storm
has passed completely and the all clear has
During a hurricane:
A HURRICANE WATCH is given when the hurri-
cane is possible within 36 hours.
When a hurricane watch is issued, you should
monitor news reports closely for more infor-
Continue your preparation activities and be
prepared to evacuate immediately when
instructed to do so.
When a hurricane is 24 hours away, a HURRI-
CANE WARNING is issued. Hurricane landfall is
When a hurricane warning is issued, you
should board up your windows and doors,
bring in loose items from outside, shut off
electrical, gas and water hook-ups and seek
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
As we brace for the unpredictability
of the hurricane season, it is impor-
tant to be prepared. Here are some
simple steps to help protect your
family from a storm or hurricane.
T&T Red Cross Society
Ghana s capital Accra is fast
becoming familiar territory to
Republic Bank managing director
David Dulal-Whiteway: "I went out
for some African food, and I
realised I had been eating it all my
life---chicken, rice, beans, ground
provisions. Even the local music has
a calypso beat."
Republic has just upped its stake
in Ghana s HFC Bank to 32 per
cent. First step in an African growth
The former Gold Coast was the
first of Britain s African colonies to
achieve independence, in 1957. After
coups and counter-coups, democra-
cy was restored in 1992. Like much
of Africa, Ghana is starting to pros-
per after years of stagnation.
Says Dulal-Whiteway: "It seems
like Port-of-Spain a few years ago.
The people seem less aggressive,
more soft-spoken. Manners are
more formal; suits are the style at
business meetings. The airport looks
like the old Piarco.
"But there are plenty of cranes at
work on the construction sites, and
you can be stuck in traffic for an
hour and a half."
For a company which is big in its
field, T&T can start to feel like a
tight pair of shoes. Other Caribbean
markets provide limited pickings.
North America and Britain are
dominated by well-established
giants. Latin America is near in
miles, but culturally distant. Can
Africa provide a good fit?
Ghana s economy is zipping
along---growth topped 14 per cent in
2011. Incomes are still low; per
capita GDP is around half of
Guyana s. But there is a growing
urban middle class.
At 26 million, Ghana s population
is almost 20 times T&T s, but its
economy is only two-thirds larger.
The market is small enough to
tackle, but has growth potential.
Oil should replace gold as the
leading export by 2017. On present
data, Ghana has more oil reserves
and less gas than T&T; but there is
plenty growth potential for both. A
handful of T&T-based energy serv-
ice companies are already in there.
More may now follow. Says Dax
Driver of the Energy Chamber: "We
have been actively exploring in the
energy services sector. We hope
Republic Bank s entry will pave the
way for other T&T investments and
HFC Bank seems a sensibly mod-
est place to start. It has assets of
just over US$300 million, far less
than Republic s US$8.1 billion. If all
goes wobbly, Republic will suffer a
nasty knock, but not a killer blow.
The bank was established only in
2003, but controls 30 per cent of
the residential mortgage market; its
original name was Home Finance
Company. There are 27 banks in
Ghana. HFC does not make the top
20. But it has been solidly prof-
Says Dulal-Whiteway: "HFC has a
conservative culture akin to that of
Republic Bank. It is the right size of
investment for us, with great
Fellow shareholders are well-
established institutions, led by
Ghana s Social Security and Nation-
al Insurance Trust.
Moving into a new continent car-
ries risks. Smiling faces and a
shared love of stewed chicken may
mask unexpected differences in
business culture. The romance of
Africa can brew unrealistic dreams;
just six months before the CL
Financial collapse, Lawrence Duprey
talked up plans for a five-star beach
More realistically, Republic plans
to base a small, high-level team in
Accra, led by a resident executive
director, a substantial human
resources investment. They will
have to learn fast, and be wary.
There will be a cash cost too. Those
air miles don t come cheap; nor do
expatriate lifestyles. Westmoorings-
style accommodation in Accra costs
perhaps US$5,000 a month. For
those who go, Accra will be an
exciting career move.
Republic made a brave step a
decade ago, when it took over the
Dominican Republic s failed Banco
Mercantil in the wake of a 2003
financial crisis. That ended badly.
The loan portfolio was even worse
than expected. Four years later
Republic pulled out, with heavy
losses. The Ghana venture looks
different---small and solid, not big
Ghana has its challenges. The
opposition alleged fraud in last
December s close-run presidential
election; but the Economist Intelli-
gence Unit expects the courts to
confirm the result. The EIU says
democracy is "well embedded" and
judicial processes "trusted." Some
unrest is possible if lower-income
Ghanaians do not share in the cur-
rent resource boom, but there is a
"history of political stability." Critics
point to a bloated cabinet, with 86
ministers and deputy ministers.
The government meanwhile is
struggling with a fiscal deficit,
which stems in part from pre-
election pay rises. Debt has
risen to 50 per cent of GDP,
though this is a modest figure
by Caribbean standards. Gold
prices may drift down after the
recent boom. China meanwhile
is funding infrastructure---and
often bringing its own workers,
to some local irritation.
None of this will sound
unfamiliar to a bank which
operates successfully in
Guyana, Grenada and T&T.
More chicken and rice, any-
one? If all goes well, Dulal-
Whiteway could be checking
the menu in Kenya or Tanza-
REPUBLIC IN GHANA: CHICKEN AND OIL
A skyline view of Ghana's capital Accra
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