Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves expressed gratitude to Vincentians for their support in stocking the barge with relief supplies for the BVI and the other affected areas. With regards to funds spent at the time, he said that it should range in excess of $400,000.
“We have to thank Massy and Greaves supermarkets – they didn’t charge us at all for sending the stuff to St. Martin”, Dr. Gonsalves explained. Also, to go to the BVI, Tortola, they did not charge either. To this end, he thanked the entire Greaves family for their generosity. Prime Minister Gonsalves also extended thanks to NEMO; Randy’s Supermarket; Mountain Top; Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Saboto Caesar; for mobilising farmers (up to $50,000.00 worth of farm produce was purchased).
On the issue of replacing passports to Vincentians in the affected islands, Prime Minister Gonsalves stated that Immigration Officers will be sent to the BVI, Anguilla, and Antigua and Barbuda, to provide free service in this regard. The Prime Minister has already anticipated the need for students to continue their studies, and has advised the Minister of Education to begin preparations to accommodate students from the affected areas. He added that priority will be given to students preparing for CXC and CAPE examinations, and to children with Vincentian heritage. Dr. Gonsalves stated that the Government will assist with school supplies and uniforms.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), have been working closely with the emergency offices in the affected islands, Dr. Gonsalves stated. “Already, we have sent three (3) Police Officers under CDEMA, just after the hurricane had struck the BVI. We’ve sent five (5) persons - four (4) Linesmen and one (1) Supervisor to Anguilla, through CARILEC. We’re now awaiting the passage of Maria to send persons to the BVI,” he told reporters.
Prime Minister Gonsalves acknowledged the economic challenges this country faces but he added: “We have to make sacrifices... Other people, in the past, have made sacrifices for us”.