This morning I was sitting in the sunshine watching the crystal blue sea peacefully lapping the white sand under a clear blue sky. Several thousand miles from the tragic Soufrière eruption.
I was thinking about my dear Vincentian friends and how they are suffering. Not just suffering from the eruption, but what they have suffered for the last 21 years, 21 years of sheer political hell. I remembered something a very dear, now deceased friend said to me in 2008, “a man who was thought to be an adorable saviour has turned out to be a representative of Satan.”
My old friend had also asked me, “how much evil must SVG absorb before total annihilation?” This dear lady was a devout Christian and judged all aspects of life against her faith and the actions of others around her concerning right and wrong. She was worried about the wrath of God inflicting punishment on not just the evil politicians but on those who recognised the evil and supported it. Those that took bribes to elect and re-elect a representative of Satan.
The mind is an amazing thing, and mine this morning was doing overtime in calculating the past and matching it to this dear ladies’ beliefs.
So, has God opened the door to hell and allowed us to look into the fire raging in Satan’s home? Is that what the raging volcano is about? Are we experiencing God’s wrath?
Telling numerous lies, making false statements and bearing false witness, rape, sexual molestation, sexual harassment, dirty masturbatory phone calls, ruining people lives, wrecking the lives and employment of whole families, taking part in Marxist Communist revolutions, interfering in the politics of other countries, changing laws to make guilty persons innocent, conveyor of spite and hatred, people’s homes and business raided by political police, people called nasty names, people called names to damage their reputations, nasty dirty hand gestures, purposely wrecking the agricultural sector, ignoring the constitution, crimes against humanity, assassination, causing illegal search warrants to be issued, nepotism, destruction of peoples business’s for political reasons, frightening people into running from the island, bribery, controlling the judiciary , controlling the church leaders, fraud, vote-rigging, creating a political dynasty, declaring the self-worship of Obeah, by invoking Gods wrath bringing epidemics of febrile illness’s due to dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Bringing crop diseases Black Sigatoka, planting a plague of willful ignorance among the Vincentian people, hiding the extent of how poor and distressed the Vincentian people are, taking the Lord our Gods name in vain, causing God to bring his wrath on the people of Saint Vincent.
Things can get worse, perhaps more so for him than the people.
The ashfall continues in Barbados from the volcanic eruptions in St Vincent. Therefore, half of this article will conclude my mortgage series, and the other half will include my best advice on the volcanic ash.
BAD ADVICE. If you are being advised to get a 25 to 30-year home-mortgage at this time, then in my opinion, you are being very badly advised. Many of our parents who paid off their mortgages, got them when land was selling at around $1 to $2 per sq-ft. Now, it is more than 10 times that amount. Construction costs were around $75/sq ft. Now it is about 3 to 4 times that amount. Middle-income salaries were around $500 per month. Those salaries likely grew ten-fold over their careers. So, they saw the mortgage component of their salaries getting significantly smaller, and much easier to pay during the life of the loan.
PART MORTGAGES. Before 1996, mortgages tended to be for only a part of the building costs. Persons normally had to find between 25% to 50% of what they wanted to borrow. This meant that they did not know the uncertainty of a 25 to 30-year debt repayment. Times have changed. Land prices and construction costs are already very high, and are expected to continue to increase. However, mid-income levels are not expected to increase 10-fold like with your parents. You may be fortunate if they double during your career. It is as if you entered at the losing end of a Ponzi scheme.
UNBEARABLE BURDEN. Paying a 30-year mortgage for this new generation of working Barbadians, is going to be a very difficult burden for them to bear. Mortgages worked for our parents, because land was cheap, and wages were growing rapidly. This is a different time, and it demands a different house-financing model. My best advice is for a couple to build a strong and durable starter house in 6 years, as I have described in two previous articles. Now to the volcanic ash fallout in Barbados.
MONTSERRAT VOLCANO. The Soufrière Hills volcano erupted in Montserrat in 1995. It resulted in the destruction of the capital city of Plymouth, and the southern half of the island becoming uninhabitable. I was working on several projects in Plymouth before the eruption, and continued working in Montserrat after the event. Many house roofs risk collapsing under 4 inches of ash. This can build up if the roof slope is gentle. For that reason, I have been advocating a roof slope of 30 degrees, after inspecting the damage from the volcanic eruption in Montserrat.
LOW MAINTENANCE. An approximate 30-degree roof slope reduces the risk of volcanic ash building up. It also attracts some of the lowest wind pressures during a hurricane. If roof gutter slopes were laid at about 2%, then they may be self cleaning. Trying to clean roof gutters and roof sheets of a 2-storey house, on a ladder with wet ash, is an extremely dangerous practise. It should only be attempted by those in a hurry to see Jesus. That is why houses should be designed and built to be low maintenance. If your house has less than a 30-degree roof slope, but was designed to survive a category 3 hurricane, then it may support 4 inches of ash. However, there are too many variables, like the quality of the connections, the condition of the timber, and the length of the span, to be certain. Therefore, let me suggest the following.
ROOF CLEANING ADVICE. If you have safe access to your roof, then attach a high-pressure telescoping wand to your hose, and remove the ash. If you do not have safe access to your roof, then attach the high-pressure wand to a long telescoping roller pole, and remove the ash.
If one section of your roof has a gentle slope (like a car port lean-to), and it is safely accessible, then you may consider cleaning the roof, and then installing a tarpaulin or a heavy-duty plastic sheet. Whenever the ash builds up, simply remove the tarpaulin, wash off the ash, and reinstall. Do not stand on your roof, otherwise, the combined weight of the ash and you may cause it to collapse. If some stubborn person decides to walk on your roof to clean it, then get out of the house. If the roof collapses, then occupants are likely to be injured by the falling roof, and choked by the accumulated ash.
An aspect that should get people asking questions is whether drilling into areas of active magmatism might cause volcanism.
That controversy was sparked in the Philippines when 20 earthquakes were felt soon after drilling for a new geothermal prospect on Canlaon Volcano. A congressional enquiry has been suggested, an inquiry into the tremors and their relation to the drilling and Canlaon. This would be a serious issue as Canloan (the volcano) is close to Canlaon City (population ~50,000).
This is not a new accusation in the Philippines either, as the Aetas believed that drilling caused the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo.
Drilling is the most likely cause of the infamous “mud volcano” in Indonesia, but that is related to the water and heat rather than magma’s new movements. It must be easy to link geothermal drilling to any increase in “restlessness” at any volcano nearby, but there is no hard evidence that drilling can have such a direct effect on volcanism.
Because there is no evidence that drilling can cause a volcanic reaction does not mean that such actions cannot cause an eruption. Of course, drilling companies will never repeat such beliefs; they would be more likely to suppress those mutterings.
Nature being what it is, anything is possible when you interfere or tamper with it.
It is instructive to briefly look at the close spatial association between volcanoes, eruptions, and geothermal development as a means of justification. Active or potentially active volcanoes are often targeted in the search for high-temperature geothermal resources. One specific example of an existing geothermal installation at an active volcano is the 22 MW Momotombo geothermal relatively small eruptions, interspersed with occasional, considerable explosive activity. The most recent eruption at Momotombo was in 1905, when lava flowed down from the summit crater to the volcano’s NE base (Siebert & Simkin, 2002-).
There appears to be some correlation between geothermal development and Holocene eruptions; concern for the potential impacts of future volcanic eruptions on geothermal installations is warranted and should be extensively studied. As more geothermal development occurs near potentially active volcanoes, the chances of significant eruption will only increase.
In Iceland, on September 8, 1977, magma moving through a subterranean dike intersected a geothermal borehole at the Námafjall geothermal field in Iceland (Larsen et al., 1979). Three tons of magma erupted through an 1138 m deep borehole in 20 minutes, leaving a deposit of 968 tons of volcanic scoria and ash on the land surface around the well. The Námafjall geothermal field is located on Krafla caldera’s flank, which experienced a major volcanic rifting episode with associated faulting and magma intrusion since December 1975.
There are all sorts of stories regarding the volcanic eruption in Saint Vincent. Some say that the wells drilled for the geothermal project were on the island’s wrong part. The drilling took place there because ULP politics were in play, advice had been to drill elsewhere, but multimillion expensive drilling nevertheless was ordered and went ahead.
Drilling of the first well SVG01 lasted from April 30, 2019, to July 27, 2019, 89 days to a depth of 2,700 meters. With challenges due to the unstable formation in the well, it was necessary to correct the well’s inclination, which then collapsed at a depth of 1,889 meters. The total cost of drilling this well was $7.7 million, and a temperature of 155 degrees Celsius was measured at a depth of 1,880 meters. The project team announced there was still the possibility of successfully drilling a side-track from 1,800 to 2,700 meters and additional stimulation.
The second well, SVG03, was drilled between August 7, 2019, and October 29, 2019, including seven days of stimulation to a depth of 2,283 meters (total length 2,800 meters). The well collapsed at a depth of 1,627 meters and a side-track from 1,160 meters. The total cost of the well was $7.6 million. The well’s temperature was 220 degrees Celsius at a depth of 2,800 meters with though low permeability. They announced the well testing was outstanding, but they planned to continue stimulation to increase flow capacity.
Drilling for the third well, SVG02, began on November 4, 2019, and ended on January 15, 2020, including 19 days’ stimulation. The depth of the well is 2,990 meters (2,869 vertical depth). The drilling cost was $5.6 million with a temperature of 230 to 250 degrees Celsius. They announced this well would have to be stimulated.
Side-tracking the first well, SVG01 was next on the agenda with stimulation using a downhole packer to seal the downhole at 1,700 meters. The same was then tried to SVG03.
It was expected that testing would be concluded around July 2020; at that time, estimates could be made about the wells’ possible capacity for power generation.
In August 2020, Ellsworth Dacon, the Vincentian Project Director of the project, told local news. “The results weren’t as expected. We got permeability, but not sufficient enough for it to be commercially viable.” “While there is undoubtedly a geothermal source at Bamboo Range, the inadequacy of the permeability of the rocks means that the heat cannot pass through the rocks at the needed rate.” Dacon went on to say, “We are looking at some closed-loop systems and speaking to three companies, so we will see how it goes.”
In real quick time, the Icelandic company packed up and pulled out of SVG. The geothermal project on St. Vincent & the Grenadines spent over US$ 35 million since the start in 2012, with around US$700k from the Vincentian government, US$ 29 million in grant funding, and $7 million in funding from private equity.
Drilling equipment was hastily moved from the site and shipped overseas.
The ULP propagandist Vinciman said in 2017, “Our greatest fear is La Soufriere Volcano, and even so, we just go about our business as usual, like … it doesn’t even exist.”
In reply, Peter Binose wrote in 2017, “We now know the greatest fear of Ralph Gonsalves is La Soufriere Volcano erupting before Argyle officially opens. Because if that happened, it would be the end of the Argyle airport project; no airline would ever fly in there after that. There is the possibility that it will erupt in the future, perhaps even sometime soon.”
Binose went on to write in reply to Vinciman, “I am glad you mentioned La Soufriere Volcano and being worried about it erupting, so you should be. Because it is very much a live volcano and, according to records, is overdue to erupt. All aircraft sitting at the airport will be lost because the hot ash will destroy them. They will end up as scrap metal. They certainly will not be able to fly in the ash cloud, and the airport is within an area where hot rocks will rain down. Argyle may become an insurance nightmare for resident and visiting aircraft, with runway subsidence more than a possibility, huge winds when not expected and now a live volcano to consider.”
La Soufriere Volcano is an active volcano, it last erupted in 1979, and there is always steam and gasses rising from it, although it is currently resting. Looking at the record of La Soufriere’s past eruptions and the intervals between them, an eruption is now long overdue. So, it is not ‘if’ but when, and the regime knows that, which has frightened them. And as I previously said, “so it should”.
Binose wrote many articles about the Gonsalves folly of building facilities such as the Argyle airport and the Specialist Medical facility at Georgetown. But everything was built in those dangerous areas for ULP political purposes to generate jobs for the abundant ULP supporters in those areas. Binose even wrote about the folly of drilling where they did; perhaps if his advice had been taken, there would have been no current eruption and no investment damage.
Once more, we must place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Ralph Gonsalves actions, even in this current event. What has happened was on the cards to happen. He ignored sound advice from many critics and must be considered a fool.
Proverbs 12-15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.
Where the blue of the night meets the gold of the day, that was Saint Vincent hooray.
But not anymore, the nights are dark and black, the days miserable and quiet. The change in Saint Vincent is not just about darkness and light; it is much more than that. There is a gloom and doom quietness over the island, brought about by what some may believe is Karma.
The Coronavirus is spiralling out of control due to lack of proper procedure and lack of enforcement and leadership. It turns out the advice given in earlier days about containing the virus, good scientific advice from the opposition leader Godwin Friday and his party vice president Major Leacock. But due to a know-all attitude from el comrade, we have been led into a state of false confidence.
Election parties and gatherings with no distancing, no masks, and no sense, were allowed to take place. People flew in from around the world in an attempt to pack the voting booths; those voters permitted to go and vote from quarantine when they should have been locked down. Nine mornings was allowed to proceed, people hugging, dancing, and all the frivolities and closeness. People have been encouraged to go maskless by a standard set, by government ministers often going maskless.
In December 2020, the Soufrière Volcano which all but idiots knew was only sleeping and perhaps overdue to awake, bad-tempered and violent, had begun to awake.La Soufrière Volcano, the 1922 aftermath at Wallibou, St. Vincent. [Walilabou]
The dome that broke through the crater floor, on December 27, 2020, on the south-west-perimeter of the existing dome, continues to grow within the crater of La Soufrière and has an ellipsoid shape with growth expanding in a westerly direction.
When it erupted in 1922 over a thousand six hundred people died. Workers on the Barnards Estate at Orange Hill, workers were poisoned by volcanic gas and died.
In the 1979 eruption thick ash fell all over the island, all over all the other islands, including Barbados seventy miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Aircraft could not fly then, and they will not be able to fly again if the volcano erupts.
The knowing everything man’s attitude towards the volcano dangers have been to ignore and pretended that they do not exist. Despite La Soufrière being one of the most active volcanoes in the Lesser Antilles and has a long history of eruptions with the historical records showing eruptions in 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902-1903, 1971-72 and 1979. Loss of life was recorded in the 1812 and 1902-03 eruptions when 56 persons died in 1812 and over 1500 in 1902-03.
During the past 4000 years, the volcano has had an average of one massive explosive eruption every 100 years, with smaller ones in between.
The Soufrière volcano has displayed two distinct types of eruptions in the past.
Ref: Aspinall, Sigurdsson, and Shepherd 1973.
Explosive eruptions: These are the typical “Soufrière” eruptions. They are highly explosive magmatic eruptions usually preceded by frequent, strong earthquakes. Rapid production rates result in the ejection of large volumes of new material in ashfalls from eruption columns and as pyroclastic flows and surges. This type of activity is exemplified by the 1902-03 and 1979 eruptions.
Nonexplosive or Effusive eruptions: This type of eruption is effusive, unaccompanied by earthquakes, and involves smaller volumes of new material than type 1. This type of eruption is exemplified by the 1971-72 eruption. A cyclical pattern of eruptive activity during the past 250 years with alternate explosive and effusive eruptions has been suggested for the volcano. Ref: Aspinall et al. 1972.
Short-term eruptive activity:
In the short-term (i.e., <100 years), the volcanic hazard at the volcano is expected to be quite like that experienced in the historic past. The volcano would become hazardous during periods of eruptive activity, remaining for the intervening periods a threat that must be catered for in national development plans. Activity in the short term could be either explosive or effusive or both. Both events may be separated in time but can be regarded as part of a two-phase pattern of eruption. The scale of the explosive phase is expected to range from that of a 1979-type event to that of a 1902-type event. The effusive phase is expected to be quite similar to the 1971-72 eruption. The specific characteristics of these phases, as well as the hazards they are expected to pose are outlined below.
Long-term or worst case scenario:
In the longer term, allowances must be made for the possibility of cataclysmic Plinian to Ultraplinian activity fluctuating with Strombolian type eruptions. Although there are no historic records of such activity, the presence of thick late Pleistocene ashfall deposits throughout St Vincent as well as thick coriaceous ashfall on the lower flanks of the volcano demonstrates that the Soufrière has the capacity for events of this kind.
We should all be aware that we are in a period of climate warming.
Climate Change Is Likely to Increase Volcanic Eruptions, Scientists Say: The Two-Way A recent study in the journal Geology says glacial ice has an impact on the behaviour of magma below the Earth’s surface. It finds a correlation between a warmer climate and more volcanic activity. What does that mean, well it means that times between eruptions will become much, much shorter?
All of that aside, el camarada obeso was warned about building in the vicinity of the Soufrière volcano. But being unable to take advice of any kind decided his political beliefs and ambitions should override the advice despite it being based on science and being more than credible.
A new ultra-modern medical and diagnostic centre was built at Georgetown in an area where volcanic debris the size of micro-wave ovens had rained down during the 1979 eruption.
The medical contract the Cubans were given was a three-year project which took them nine years to complete. The Komrade having built the facility in a very silly, even in a very stupid place, within striking distance of the volcano, we now have to consider how to rescue the staff and patients if the volcano gets to a near critical stage. Sea rescue is impossible due to rocks and it being Atlantic leeward coast, huge sea’s, and no dock. The road out of the red zone is in places flat and may be subject to sea surge flooding, in other places mountainous curving narrow road, with potholes of course, they are part of the Komrades university degree in stupidity via pothole excellence.
But with so many people to rescue, many old, infirm, or ill. What do we do with them? Also, what do we do with more than 400 prisoners at Belle Isle prison? Where do we put them, how do we care for them?
Then the airport, built by the Cubans, it was a three-to-five-year project which took the Cubans nine years to build. During that four or five year overrun the Cubans were paid somewhere approaching $400,000 a month, with no penalties for being late. It was best described as an act of comradeship and solidarity. Once again built against advice of many citizens and others, where aircraft will not be able to operate if there is an eruption.
I have never forgotten driving home one day, listening to SVG’s many times sued by the Komrade, premier radio station BDS Nice. I was listening to business being conducted in Parliament. I was shocked and dismayed when I heard him utter one of the most foolish things he ever said, and there have been a few. He said, “if I work Obeah, I only work Obeah for the Lord”. In most Christian societies that would have sounded the death nell for his political career. But not in Saint Vincent, there would have been people in bars and at home listening who would have drowned the neighbourhood in clapping and cheering. The Church leaders said nothing, the Church Council said nothing.
I was told by a doctor tonight that the majority of those infected with the COVID 19 virus are ULP people, I have no way of knowing if that is true.
What is happening in Saint Vincent may be Karma, well deserved and reserved for the “I like nasty, not nice” among us. But whatever the truth, let’s all hope that people see sense and self-isolate, please people lets all try and be sensible.