Grenada: The administration of Grenada will provide $1 million in aid for the Government and population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to support deal with the after-effects of the explosive eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano.
My Cabinet colleagues and I unanimously supported the proposal to help the neighbouring country, despite the fiscal challenges we now face.
Initially, Grenada pledged to accept hundreds of Vincentian evacuees if they opted for relocation and immediately started making arrangements to do so in collaboration with St. George’s University.
However, at an emergency meeting of the OECS Authority this week, my Vincentian colleague, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, advised us of a general reluctance among Vincentians to relocate to other nations and, in some cases, even to evacuate the high-risk region.
It is corresponding to this backdrop that the nation has now started looking at alternative means of providing support for the administration and people of St. Vincent.
My friends, this is a time of severe crisis, and our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent-and the Grenadines. We have not lost the perception that we are in the middle of the global pandemic that has affected all the economies, but when a disaster of this nature occurs. Your brothers and sisters are in trouble, and we simply have to extend a helping hand. It is the right thing to do.
In the circumstances like this, I recall September 2004 when Hurricane Ivan devastated our country, and these very acquaintances were among the first to help us. Being our brothers’ keeper is just part of our tradition as Caribbean people.
The La Soufriere volcano has encountered various explosive eruptions since last Friday, and with ongoing uncertainty overestimation of how long the situation could continue, Vincentians must be developed for the long haul.
This is even more reason to help because the situation is still unfolding, and its reasonable amount may unknown for some time.
Also, the fact that the community spread of COVID-19 has been confirmed in St. Vincent further compounds the situation.
The government’s cash donation will be in addition to all other emergencies humanitarian relief coordinated by the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA).
The first shipment of supplies left Grenada on Sunday afternoon, arriving in the neighbouring country just hours later. The shipment contained water primarily as this has become an urgent need given St. Vincent’s water supply contamination. Still, it also included non-perishable food, hygiene products, baby products and adult care items.
The relief effort continues, and a few other shipments have left Grenada for St. Vincent, with excellent support coming from individuals, businesses and organisations.