PM expresses shock at Japan catastrophe
March 18, 2011

PM expresses shock at Japan catastrophe

Prime Minster Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has indicated that he has been in contact with his Asian counterparts concerning the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan last week.{{more}}

The Prime Minister, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, March 16, said that he has spoken to Japanese officials, conveyed his condolences to them about the March 11 magnitude 8.9 earthquake, which was followed by a tsunami, and has left tens of thousands dead and unaccounted for.

“I have on behalf of the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines transmitted a letter of solidarity to the Prime Minister of Japan. I also had a conversation with the ambassador of Japan to St. Vincent and the Grenadines offering by ourselves and through CARICOM whatever assistance is possible for us to provide.”

“We all have been very pained. I know I am shocked by the magnitude of the disaster. I think we are all pained to see human beings suffering in this manner.”

Dr. Gonsalves said that he wanted the volunteers who are here from Japan to know that the Vincentian community cares about their loss, although it is not yet known if any other their close family or relatives have been displaced, missing or injured.

“The government and people of Japan have been our very good friends. We have to make known to them our love and care and our solidarity.”

He also indicated that as far as he is aware, there were no Vincentians in that country at the time of the tragedies. However, to his knowledge, there were ten CARICOM nationals on the island, and they were all safe.

“So that if there were any Vincentians among them they would be there but we haven’t had that ascertained.”

The Prime Minister also indicated that he spoke to officials from the Republic of China on Taiwan concerning the extent of radioactive material that may make its way to that region, as a result of the damage done to a nuclear power plant in last weeks catastrophe.

He said that he had spoken to Ambassador Leo Lee, who indicated that there is no urgency at the moment, but it is being monitored very closely.

“We have 30 students in Taiwan. We do not yet see any danger to them, but I have been in contact with Peggy Carr, who you know is a kind of an unofficial ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines there in Taiwan.

“I have asked her to inform all the students that should in the unlikely event that there is a need for us to have them removed from Taiwan because of any challenge arising from any escape of radioactive material, we will move very quickly to do so.”(JJ)