Cricketers Shane Shillingford and Liam Sebastien (and Viv Richards) talk about living through Hurricane Maria in Dominica, and how cricket helped its own
by NAGRAJ GOLLAPUDI | OCTOBER 16, 2017
On the evening of September 18, Shane Shillingford, the West Indies offspinner, was sitting in his living room with his wife and father, playing board games. Music piped in the background. Outside, the wind was strong and there was some rain too.
Shillingford, who played 16 Tests till 2014, lives in Dublanc village, about a 15-minute drive from Portsmouth in the north-west of the island of Dominica, one in the string of tiny islands in the Caribbean that runs down from Antigua to Trinidad and Tobago in the south, flanked by the Atlantic to the east and the Caribbbean Sea to the west.
August-September is usually hurricane season in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma had devastated Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua, on September 6. Now Dominica was bracing for Hurricane Maria, but the initial feeling, at least according to Shillingford, was it would not be too bad.
However, Maria went on to be the tenth most intense hurricane in the Atlantic ever. The news bulletins and weather forecasts were for the storm to pass Dominica by, but it shifted course suddenly. “We never thought that the hurricane was coming direct to us,” Shillingford says, speaking to ESPNcricinfo three weeks later.
And while he lamented the destruction of thriving sectors that was caused by monster storms, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Executive Director of CARDI, Mr. Barton Clarke, said that agriculture in the two islands will flourish again.
He said that CARDI had participated in the initial assessments of the damage to the islands, and was now looking at what their needs are. He said that the regional institution will liaise with the Secretariat of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) which has been mobilising assistance in agriculture. In an interview with CARICOM Today on 5 October, ahead of the 71st Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development on Agriculture at the CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. Clarke said that the Region had some internal capacity to assist immediately to plant short-term crops. (more…)