September 17, 2004
Forward together Caribbean

These past two weeks have demonstrated to us in this Caribbean civilization two things very clearly: just how vulnerable we are to the forces of nature, and increasingly just how interdependent we are and must be. When Hurricane Ivan took aim at our region, its sights were not set at so-called independent states, which have chosen to artificially divide themselves into groups called more and less, developed. {{more}}No Ivan the terrible on this campaign din see an area with prime ministers who tended to carry tags of different ideological leanings or peculiar characteristics. Ivan was on the hunt to wreak havoc with the lives and economies of a people who had in some cases arrived here on the same ships though or different trips and in other cases on different ships but for completely different reasons. And as it moved through the region we suddenly were jolted back to the reality that we are and must be our brothers keepers.
Thus here at home it was moving, oh so moving to see the outpouring of love and caring demonstrated in emotional and material ways from our citizens for our brothers and sisters in Grenada.
The leadership demonstrated by Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning in sending in troops helped in no small measure toward staving off what could have developed into anarchy in our battered southern neighbour Grenada. There, opportunistic elements took advantage early of the lack of communications and general breakdown to begin to loot at will, even dry goods stores, which made one realize that this was not just a case of desperation.
The brotherhood shown by Prime Ministers Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Dr. Kenny Anthony of SVG and St. Lucia respectively who personally flew down to comfort and show support and no doubt give well needed advice to Prime Minister Dr. Keith must be commended. The Barbadian government had early on too, made available its AM station CBC to carry messages to the beleaguered Grenadian people. That even as our own Jules Williams from WEFM went down and quickly put together a radio station 98.5 FM which has been providing a needed local link to the Grenadian masses.
On Wednesday members of Caricom including Prime Minster Dr. Ralph Gonsalves met in Trinidad and Tobago as guests of that country’s’ leader Patrick Manning to knock heads on the way forward. Early reports say that they had agreed on a plan for reconstruction, on seeking a moratorium on debt payments for Grenada, to guarantee a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank and to organize a major donor conference. We have also learnt that Prime Ministers Gonsalves and Manning are to address the United Nations to plead the case for Grenada.
All very commendable and reinforces that when we want to we can act in a serious and truly united manner towards each other. If once it had been Trinidad and Tobago which had withdrawn from a federation of the region it is today very pleasing to see the positive attitude being shown by that country’s current leader. With the stated position of our own leader Dr, Gonsalves on the issue of unity and the growing closeness of this country to the twin island republic, can we now be seeing the seeds of something deeper being reborn?
If that is so, than we can truly say that which we all know, God moves in mysterious ways and so often out of this adversity there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can and must move forward together, for all ah we.