Ur­gently Re­lo­cate the Land Reg­istry to higher ground

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By

Ama­tus Ed­ward

With all of the ex­pert pre­dic­tions of tsunamis in the re­gion, the fre­quent earth­quakes, the erup­tion of Kick ‘em Jenny, the re­cent twelve inch down­pour on Do­minica by Erika; we can’t af­ford to be mov­ing so slowly with our cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion plans. The Land Reg­istry is the repos­i­tory of vi­tal records that, if de­stroyed, can place this coun­try into un­told chaos and con­fu­sion. I need not enun­ci­ate the ex­act state in which we would find our­selves if this reg­istry is de­stroyed. This would also be true of the Civil Sta­tus and Deeds and Mort­gages reg­istries. The build­ings that house those im­por­tant doc­u­ments are ly­ing mere feet from the shore­line and would be ut­terly dis­sem­i­nated by se­ri­ous storm surges or tsunamis.

If we are se­ri­ous about our fu­ture, then com­mon­sense will di­rect us to ur­gently move those repos­i­to­ries to higher grounds. We are blessed with hills all over to make this pos­si­ble. The cost of mov­ing will pale in com­par­i­son to the cost of hav­ing lost those vi­tal records.

In the long term we can look to bur­row­ing bunkers for them into those moun­tains all around for added safety from hur­ri­cane winds, vol­canic erup­tions and earth­quakes to a cer­tain ex­tent. We can’t af­ford to wait much longer to ef­fect those changes. A copy of this ar­ti­cle will be made avail­able to the Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Na­tional Se­cu­rity to en­sure that he is no­ti­fied.

But it is not only those gov­ern­ment of­fices that need to take this se­ri­ously. There are other in­sti­tu­tions such as banks, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, law of­fices and other vi­tal pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties that need to mit­i­gate those real, and I dare say, im­mi­nent threats. There are only two fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in the Castries basin with re­motely stored dig­i­tized cus­tomer records. The cost of dig­i­tiz­ing and cloud stor­age has dropped sig­nif­i­cantly. In fact, the Cham­ber of Com­merce can fund the cre­ation of an in­ex­pen­sive bunker at some high el­e­va­tion where mem­bers can house re­mote file servers if they don’t wish to use Cloud Space. The gov­ern­ment should also join that pro­ject and move its com­put­ing nerve cen­tre to higher ground. From what I am told, a ten foot storm surge on the Castries wa­ter­front could de­stroy the gov­ern­ment’s main com­puter in­fra­struc­ture!

I am aware of cli­mate change re­silience con­sul­ta­tions un­der­way with quite a bit of money as­signed to the pro­ject. It’s my view that the re­lo­ca­tion of the reg­istries falls un­der the ob­jec­tive of that pro­ject as it will make Saint Lu­cia more pre­pared for the pos­si­ble neg­a­tive ef­fects of cli­mate change. The Erika ex­pe­ri­ence in Do­minica is tes­ta­ment to the re­al­ity of cli­mate change. It’s been re­ported on so­cial media that new wa­ter paths have been cre­ated in Do­minica and hot wa­ter springs dis­cov­ered at the Trafal­gar Falls, all in­di­cat­ing that the ter­rain was un­ac­cus­tomed to that level of rain­fall. Let’s act now!

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