No injuries or deaths, but… Beryl’s fury felt in northern Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Youths play football on this road in Les Coteaux, Tobago on Monday hours after the passage of Hurricane Beryl. – Photo by Visual Styles

CATEGORY Four Hurricane Beryl may have spared Tobago its full wrath and fury, but it still left a trail of destruction predominantly in the northern end of the island as gale-force winds snapped towering trees and brought down utility poles along the L’anse Fourmi/Charlotteville Link Road.

Hundreds of people were without electricity, telephone and internet service in several areas of the island even as emergency crews responded to dozens of trouble calls.

From as early as 3 am on Monday, the Atlantic Ocean began to churn monster waves off Tobago causing seawater to spill onto the road in several areas.

Police ordered all bars in the usual bustling Crown Point drag to close shortly after 10 pm on Sunday, June 30, and there were long lines at gas stations.

Around 8 am, as the eye of the hurricane swept over, scores of people who had just completed their overnight shifts were seen huddled together under shops opposite the Scarborough Port as there were no taxis to take them home. The road was clear in the capital city as all businesses were shut tight.

In the countryside of Argyle, one woman who ventured out after the rain eased, said she thought the sea was “gone to take the road.”

She said several trees came down overnight and residents were fearing the worst. She said part of her roof was ripped off and she was hoping for some assistance from the Tobago House of Assembly.

Even in her time of misery, the woman said she had a duty to make sure her neighbours were safe.

Fisherman Kester Jack was on the pier at Lucy Vale, Speyside with other fisherfolk giving thanks for what could only be described as a miracle.

“Last night it was more about plenty rain. The breeze come this morning. It wasn’t that bad but we prepared for almost anything because we done pull up we boats. The boys and them was on stand by in case any roof blew off or anything. We could still go and give a little hand. Thank God everything just pass and blow over,” he said.

Jack said he was grateful that there were no reports of injury or deaths in his village.

Stacy Fraser, manager of the emergency shelter in Delaford said 29 people sought refuge at the Delaford Community Centre. The occupants were seen eating meals around noon.

In Charlotteville, Ned “Rambo” Celestine said he and other fishermen heeded the alarm to be prepared for the storm as all fishing boats were hauled onshore on Sunday.

At the jetty in at Man-o-War Bay, several people gathered around noon on Monday, some having quick shots of rum and others danced in the street.


But the real heroes were work crews from the THA’s Works and Infrastructure Division who teamed up with villagers along the Northside Road, Bloody Bay, L’anse Fourmi/Charlotteville Link Road to clear over 500 trees, broken concrete utility poles, and rubble.

Newsday met with two-man team Glennon Sharpe and Akiedon Charles along the route which had been completely blocked off by trees and utility poles.

Sharpe who expertly sliced branches away with a power-saw, encountered one major challenge as a broken concrete pole blocked his path.

With the aid of this Newsday journalist as well as Express photographer Jermaine Cruickshank, and a TSTT employee, the pole was dragged to the side of the road, after several failed attempts.

Sharpe met up with another work crew but this time got assistance from a backhoe driver to rover the fallen utility pole.

Sharpe and his team-mate were on the ground from as early as 10 am and ended work in darkness as he said it was his responsibility to make sure the road was cleared.

Much more work will have to be done in the coming days to clear the remaining branches and residents are hopeful their internet and mobile services can be resorted in quick time.

Even while Tobago’s heroes continue to work to try and bring a sense of normalcy after Beryl’s visit, all eyes are on another weather system that is forming in the Atlantic and heading north towards the Windward Islands. This system is forecast to strengthen by the middle of the week.

Editor’s Note: Sunday Newsday editor Darren Bahaw visited Tobago as part of Newsday’s special coverage of Hurricane Beryl’s passage.

Workmen try to remove a concrete utility pole which fell across this road in L’anse Fourmi, Tobago on Monday. – Photo by Darren Bahaw

CLEAN-UP: THA workers Darrien Duncan, left, and Winston Amoroso were busy clearing away fallen trees from the Charlotteville Road in Tobago on July 1 after the passage of Hurricane Beryl. – Photo by Darren Bahaw