Wed | Oct 18, 2017

#SOTIC2017 | Small islands fork out big bucks for hurricane relief in the Caribbean

Published:Tuesday | October 10, 2017 | 9:25 AMJanet Silvera
A man surveys the wreckage on his property after the passing of Hurricane Irma, in St. John's, Antigua.

St George's, Grenada:

St Kitts and Nevis has announced plans to donate US$1.5 million (EC$4 million) and Grenada has increased its monetary commitment to US$646,000, to regional partners affected by recent hurricanes.

Combined, the two countries said they were pumping US$2.13 million into recovery efforts in Dominica, Cuba, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

This is the highest sum of money to be committed by two of the smallest countries in the region since the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated a number of islands in the region.

Addressing the media at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO), State of the Tourism Industry Conference (#SOTIC2017) conference in Grenada Monday morning, Patricia Maher, chief executive officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority said, “Dominica and Cuba both received EC $500,000 (approx. USD $185,185) each and Barbuda received EC $300,000 (approx. USD $111,111)”.

As part of its initial regional response, Grenada and the Maurice Bishop International Airport offered shelter to more than 20 aircraft from Dominica.

“Grenada also sent a seasoned technical team, who are experts in recovery and rebuild efforts post-hurricane,” added Maher.

Nevis’ Director of Tourism, Devon Liburd, gracious that his country was spared the wrath of both severe storms, said their relief effort was started by the Four Seasons hotel.

“They (Four Seasons) provided relief for Anguilla by sending goods to help the persons affected, while our government has committed US$1.5 million to a number of the islands.

The latest effort follows a US$50,000 by Guyana and intervention by several private sector companies have also taken up the mantle by sending boats and aircraft laden with goods.

In addition, Jamaica has deployed a Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT), to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) were also deployed as part of the CARICOM Disaster Response Unit (CDRU), to provide immediate relief in Tortola (part of the British Virgin Islands), while a 120-man strong Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), also of the JDF is in Dominica.

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) has also launched a relief fund to help the countries recover.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com