January 3, 2014
People are suffering – Gonsalves

The emergence of a new and better St Vincent, rising from the rubble and debris of the 2013 Christmas disaster, is the hope of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

On Monday, while delivering the feature address to mark the hand-over by the contractors, of the passenger terminal at the Argyle international airport to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Gonsalves said that despite the damage, destruction and loss of life, he finds that the resilience and unfazed response by most persons has been remarkable.

“The sharing which is taking place is extensive and commendable. I see in this disaster the seeds of a new St Vincent and the Grenadines, different and better, and we must keep our focus.

“So we have a lot going for us, despite the challenges and I feel sure as the sun rises tomorrow that we will succeed. I promise the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, especially those who are now suffering, that this government, and I personally will be there to help you, and we have to work together.”

The Prime Minister wept openly as he gave a summary report of the damage.

He described the flooding which took place last week Tuesday and Wednesday as the worst in living memory to have affected the northern half of the island.

He had toured the storm hit areas the weekend before.

“People are suffering, there is no question about it. Families which have been vulnerable, within 24 hours have descended not just into poverty, but into indigence. Families which have been poor, have become indigent, and those who are indigent are waiting for our help.

“Normal bodily functions which we take for granted in terms of waste disposal, they have that as a serious challenge….

“So, we have two St Vincent and the Grenadines, one which is normal, and the other one which is anguished and pained,” Gonsalves said, as his voice broke and he wiped tears from his eyes.

He pointed out that over 300 persons have been left homeless by the storm, with more than 200 of them relocated to shelters.

He said that there are some who had not lost their homes, but the damage caused by water and mud have left the buildings inhospitable.

“Across this country, people have lost their beds, their furnishings, their cooking utensils, their stoves, their fridges; laptops given by the state are destroyed, books, clothing, shoes, everything is lost, every single thing,” he added.(JJ)