by Donella Hosten
Prime Minister Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell, during a National Statement on Monday, 25 September 2017, made a clarion call to Grenadians both at home and abroad, to continue to give generously to the neighbouring hurricane-ravaged islands.
PM Mitchell reminded the public that in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan destroyed Grenada’s infrastructure, many of these islands donated money, clothing, food, human resources and time to assist with the rebuilding efforts. He reminisced on the that hundreds of skilled and unskilled workers left the comfort of their homes to come to Grenada at that much-needed time during the aftermath of Ivan.
PM Mitchell announced that the Government of Grenada has pledged to financially assist the islands which have been partially and completely destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. “The Caribbean project is bigger than the geographical divides,” commented the PM, as he mentioned the ‘already fragile’ economies of the islands that were destroyed within a matter of hours. “Let us rally around our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean.”
Minister for Implementation, Hon Emmalin Pierre, during this week’s Post Cabinet Briefing, reiterated the need for Grenadians to continue to give. She expanded on the decisions made by Cabinet on the amounts that would be donated to each island by Grenada. Anguilla and Tortola will each get $200,000; Barbuda gets $300,000 and Cuba and Dominica will each receive $500,000.
“Our Prime Minister has led from the front in this initiative,” said Minister Pierre. He has been travelling to the different islands to see the damages and lend support to his fellow Caribbean leaders.
According to Minister Pierre, the government has expended in excess of $50,000 to evacuate Grenadians living in affected countries such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Last Saturday, an aircraft was chartered by the Government of Grenada to carry about 20 Grenadians who were in dire need of evacuation from the BVI to Grenada.
Pierre confirmed that government has been and will continue to assist Grenadians living in the ravaged islands however possible: “We stand ready to support every Grenadian.”
Additionally, under the leadership of Senator Winston Garraway, the National Disaster and Management Authority (NaDMA), has been working around the clock. A disaster relief account #121004900 was activated at the Grenada Co-Operative Bank for persons and organisations to donate funds, with approximately $25,000 collected so far.
A 40ft container containing water, food, tarpaulin and other non-perishable items was shipped to Dominica, while a number of other organisations in Grenada have been collecting items for the other islands. The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, through their ambassador in Grenada, HE Dr Zhao Yongchen, donated $60,000 to the cause of support.
To raise more funds for Dominica, the Ministry of Culture will facilitate a benefit concert later on in October at the National Stadium. The committee in charge of this initiative is led by Dexter Mitchell, who has assured the public that all of the proceeds will be going to Dominica. More details are to be provided by the committee.
Minister Pierre also mentioned that 15 highly trained Officers from the Special Services Unit (SSU) and 4 specialists from the Grenada Airport Authority’s Hurricane Relief Team left over the weekend for Dominica.
Grenada has been spared thus far from the passing hurricanes, however, the public is urged to be mindful that the ‘season’ is not yet over, and should remain vigilant.