News
February 7, 2014
PM clears air on people who denied getting Tomas relief

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves this week outlined the assistance given to five more people who alleged that they did not receive relief for damage sustained by hurricane Tomas in 2010.{{more}}

On Monday during a press conference at cabinet room, the Prime Minister read from a list of materials he said were given to the individuals whom leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace had said received no support from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

The Prime Minister opted not to reveal the identity of the individuals, saying that he did not believe it was ethical to do so.

In his budget wrap up, last month, he called two of the individuals by name, an act he apologized for at the press conference.

“I really shouldn’t have mentioned their names, because I don’t think that persons who have been traumatized in a disaster – and I responded with the information, I should have been a little bit more thoughtful.

“I don’t think that Mr Eustace ought to have put persons in that position. I am not so sure that they willingly gave their names to be made public…. I am not so sure about that,” Gonsalves said.

“There is a gentleman from Mount Bentinck… Mr Eustace said he didn’t get anything, but he got the following items through NEMO: 15 lengths of 2x6x18 lumber, three lengths of 2x8x18, ten lengths of 1x2x16, seven lengths of 1x10x16, 20 sheets of 18 foot galvanize, one double mattress, two sacks of cement, and three 4×4 sliding windows.

“Those materials came up to $6, 333.73. I understand he showing people still the damage that was done,” the Prime Minister continued.

According to the Prime Minister, another individual from the North Windward constituency received 15 sheets of 8 foot galvanize and two lengths of ridging from the people who coordinated relief efforts in the area.

“NEMO gave her eight sheets of 12 foot galvanize, ten sacks of cement, 18 lengths of 2x4x14, two lengths of 2x6x14, and two lengths of ten foot ridging, but according to the leader of the Opposition she got nothing.

“There is a lady from Edinboro Mr Eustace mentioned. This person got two lengths of 2x6x16, this person got four lengths of 2x4x 16, four lengths of 1x8x16, four lengths of 1x8x14, three lengths of 10 foot ridging, 15 sheets of 16-foot galvanize… 20 lengths of half inch steel, 20 sacks of cement, 6 cubic yards of sand, and 150 six-inch blocks, but Eustace says she aint get nothing.”

The Prime Minister also spoke of two individuals residing at Redemption Sharpes, who received collectively lumber, cement, galvanize, steel, blocks, tarpaulin, and a double mattress.

He said that one of the individuals was also affected by the December floods, and he would make “every effort to have her relocated.”

“She doesn’t support the ULP, she is one of four in central Kingstown where they need to have the houses rebuilt and in my view relocated and there are four others who must have their houses substantially repaired.

“When you make a charge of political discrimination I take it seriously,” Gonsalves said.

“So I have to get the facts because if anybody discriminates against a person on the grounds of politics, they will hear the length of my tongue because people know that I do not function like that.”

During his budget presentation, and also in a published article, Eustace gave the names of people he said received no aid after Tomas – the tropical storm which hit the island in late 2010 and caused significant damage to houses, crops, roads and bridges.

The individuals are Norma Nanton, and Albertina Forde of Redemption Sharpes, Albert Russell, Errol Morris and Saadis Alive of Georgetown, Adelaide Jackson of Hopewell, Selman Jack and Angina Edwards of Rose Bank, Louis Matthews of Questelles, Terah Sutherland of Bay Road, Virginia Spence of Barrouallie, Elizabeth Hamilton of Edinboro, Clayton Harry of New Grounds, Joseph Harry of Clare Valley, Yvette John of Rockies and Juanita Blucher of Langley Park.

At a press conference held on January 23, Eustace said that he was standing by his statements about the individuals not receiving assistance.