August 24, 2007

Dr. Gonsalves to petition Trinidad for hurricane aid

This country’s Prime Minister will be petitioning his Trinidadian counterpart for financial support for the CARICOM territories that were severely hit by Hurricane Dean.{{more}}

“I will speak to Prime Minister Manning to urge him to assist particularity Dominica and to a lesser extent St Lucia and certainly Jamaica,” Dr Gonsalves said at a Press conference yesterday.

Dr Gonsalves said that he had been in touch with Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt on two occasions, who reported to him on the impact of Dean.

Dr Gonsalves said that he has also spoken to his Jamaican counterpart Portia Simpson Miller, and Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, but was unable at the time of the press conference, last Monday, August 20, to reach the acting Prime Minister of St Lucia Stephenson King.

“We are all in this business together of seeking to help one another in disaster preparedness, not just within a country but also between countries,’ Dr Gonsalves said.

“We are trying to see in what way we could help one another,” he added.

Dr Gonsalves, who is also Caricom’s lead Prime Minister for Bananas said that he was also concerned about the damage caused to the banana industry.

He reported that 10 per cent of this country’s bananas has been affected. The main area of destruction was at the Grand Sable/ Congo Valley/ Georgetown area, which experienced about 35 percent destruction.

The news is worse out of Dominica and St Lucia, which is not good for the struggling industry.

Describing the situation as an enormous challenge, he said that the Windward Islands Banana Development Company (WIBDECO) may have to purchase bananas from other places, like the Dominican Republic, so that the Windward Islands could meet their export quota over the next few months. (KJ)