The Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission in fulfilment of a commitment to provide relief and recovery resources to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) following the devastation and displacement caused by the volcanic eruptions in April, last week presented $336,000 to the government of SVG.
At a Virtual Handover Ceremony last Friday, October 22, the Commission and the Global Coalition in support of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in association with the Oxygen with Nicole (O2N) Foundation, presented a cheque of EC$355,536.78 in cash raised via the “Stronger Together: We Are A Global Family” Campaign to the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A release from the OECS said that SVG also benefited from an additional $EC3.1 million in cash and in-kind donations raised by the Commission, and will further benefit from $EC1.4 million in project funding that will be executed by the Commission’s Environmental Sustainability Division.
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the Commission launched a resource mobilisation strategy which leveraged its partnership network of diplomatic missions, development partners, and private and public sector partners to channel assistance for SVG.
This comprehensive strategy resulted in the mobilisation of relief items, development funding and cash valued at approximately $EC4.9 million, which largely included in-kind relief items donated via the Commission or directly to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a result of the Commission’s efforts.
This strategy included:
The formation of the Coalition for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Stronger Together: We Are a Global Family Campaign; the latter included the design and launch of a crowd-funding campaign.
Leveraging a network of partners through the OECS Pooled Procurement and Supply Chain Management Unit (PPS).
Connecting with key development partners and diplomatic allies through the OECS Brussels and Geneva Missions.
Designing and implementing an aggressive social media campaign directed at bringing visibility to the situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with the aim of getting Caribbean nationals and the Diaspora to contribute towards the effort.
Leveraging the network of private sector organisations across the Caribbean and globally.
“In doing this handover, we are simply the channel through which the love of our Caribbean people is transmitted,” OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, said at last week Friday’s virtual ceremony.
“Donations have come from private citizens and from the business sector – from organisations within the region and beyond,” he said.
“On behalf of the OECS, I take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed magnanimous support, large or small, to our international call to action,” the the OECS Director General added.
Accepting the contributions on behalf of the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, said: “Through the efforts of the OECS, almost five million dollars have been raised, some of it in cash, some of it in-kind, and some through various projects.
“I am extremely grateful, and the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are extremely grateful, to the yeoman effort, the tireless service of Dr. Jules and the OECS and to you, the people of the Eastern Caribbean, for your generosity of spirit, for your solidarity and for your commitment to being your brother’s keeper. We couldn’t do it without you”.
He added” “We are grateful for what we have received so far. We know that we have not exhausted your generosity and your solidarity and, as we emerge from this ‘Stronger Together’ as a region, we know that we can continue to count on Dr. Jules, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and the peoples of the Eastern Caribbean in striving higher, building back better and achieving great things together.”
The Commission, on behalf of the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, extended heartfelt gratitude to the local, regional and international agencies that supported the Organisation’s co-ordinated effort by way of a Memoranda of Understanding mobilised through the OECS Pooled Procurement and Supply Chain Management Unit – OECS PPS.
These agencies include: the Afiya Foundation; the Stronger Together Campaign; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand; the European Union; the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States; the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO); and the Emergency Response Co-ordination Centre of ECHO.
The Commission also extended sincere appreciation to its Corporate Partners who answered the regional clarion call for assistance. Among these are: SEWA International; the Trinidad and Tobago National Commercial Bank, Jamaica Ltd; Guardian Group; RIF Trust and Latitude ; Jamaica Stock Exchange; Global Coalition in support of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; iCreate and Sunsplash Jamaica; O2N Foundation and OMG Media Group; Global Leadership Forum; Bank of St Lucia; and the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture .
The release said that considerable support was also provided by Caribbean nationals within the region and in the Diaspora, and the Commission also extended thanks to them.
The OECS Commission said it remains deeply committed to supporting the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as it continues efforts to recover from the volcanic eruptions and navigate the innumerable challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.