Thu | Nov 22, 2018

Gov't spends $50m to airlift J'cans from Eastern Caribbean

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

The Jamaican Government has spent more than $50 million to airlift 200 Jamaicans living in Eastern Caribbean countries back home in the wake of the devastation caused to those islands by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

However, there are several Jamaicans who remain in some of the hurricane-stricken islands assisting in the rebuilding efforts there.

In a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness thanked the private sector and individual Jamaicans who have provided invaluable assistance to the countries impacted.

"I must place on record the Government's deep gratitude for their generosity," he noted.

At the same time, the Holness administration has pledged to donate US$100,000 each to the redevelopment funds for Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica.

In terms of other assistance being provided by Jamaica, the country has deployed a Rapid Needs Assessment Team comprising members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and other agencies and responders to the Turks and Caicos Islands following the destruction caused by Irma.

Holness reported that members of the JDF were also deployed as part of the CARICOM Disaster Response Unit, to provide immediate relief in Tortola, which forms part of the British Virgin Islands.




The prime minister said in a conversation with his Dominican counterpart, Roosevelt Skerrit, at the weekend, the Dominican leader formally requested assistance from Jamaica.

"In keeping with our commitment to Dominica, I authorise the JDF to organise its 120-man strong Disaster Assistance Response Team which is being deployed in three phases between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today). He said the team would be assisting the country with security and distribution of relief supplies; basic engineering work with light tools and equipment, inclusive of debris removal and construction of improvised shelters; logistics management; conducting damage assessments; and recovery planning," he said.

Holness said the Government would also be supporting Dominica with a four-man technical and advisory support team led by Colonel Jamie O'Gilvie, as they seek to restore the integrity of their national security systems.