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THE VOICE: Caribbean migrants have a duty to help their countries

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 1:39 PM
DEVASTATION: Women wash clothes after storms damage the water supply in St Vincent. - The Voice photo

The Voice:



UK-based migrants have a duty to support vulnerable Caribbean states struggling to recover from the onslaught of violent storms, the head of a new volunteer group said.




Clintel Rose, co-founder of the Caribbean People’s Foundation (CPF), a Caribbean-wide initiative on climate change which is backed by many of the region’s High Commissions, was speaking at a prestigious black-tie fund-raising dinner last week.



The event in High Wycombe to mark the anniversary of the storms that devastated small islands on Christmas Eve in 2013, attracted hundreds of supporters from across the country and was attended by High Wycombe mayor Khalil Ahmed, Wycombe MP Steve Baker and representatives from Caribbean High Commissions.



In a moving speech, Doris Charles, Minister Counsellor at the St Vincent and the Grenadines High Commission, thanked the CPF for their efforts to “alleviate some rather difficult and challenging times in our home countries”.



She observed a moment’s silence for the victims of the catastrophe, which left 13 dead, forced dozens out of their homes and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.



RESPONSE



There has been criticism about the lack of international response to the increasingly frequent storms in the region, which have been blamed on climate change and are having crippling impact - “rolling back decades of economic growth”.







GROUP: Members of the Caribbean’s people Foundation. Co-founder Clintel Rose pictured in a white suit



But Rose stressed that “we can’t depend on governments to do everything for us”.



The Vincentian-born Bucks County Council employee said: “The Caribbean in its entirety is a struggling economic mass, they do not have the resources to effectively recover from this kind of devastation.



“Those of us who have migrated to England have a duty to help our brothers and sisters back home. Collectively we can make a huge difference in making sure our home countries prepare for and recover from storms.”



Rose also urged the Caribbean community to think of itself as “one people” and “come out of the mind-set” of viewing islands as separate entities.



Baker added that it is “crucially important that diaspora communities are able to support their families at home.”







RESCUE: Extreme weather led to the death of eight people on the Caribbean island



“We need to improve and build the relations with these countries - not only in the Caribbean but in the whole of the Commonwealth,” he said.



Ahmed stressed that is important that “people here recognise the suffering of the people over there, even though they are far away.”



He added: “Their pain is our pain!”