GUYANESE have a reputation of coming together to give assistance to our neighbouring countries that are in great need. The records show that time and time again, we are always responding to the call for help. And just as we did in the case of Haiti, which was affected by an enormous earthquake, so we have done in the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines. I am ecstatic that President Irfaan Ali did not hesitate and started the process of providing aid to the country which was covered in loads of debris after the volcano erupted there.
The La Soufriere volcano erupted at 08:41hrs last Friday, after the government on Thursday night issued an evacuation notice for persons living in the Red Zone, which is in the northernmost part of the island where the volcano is located. This evacuation order was issued following an increase in seismic activity, indicating that the volcano would erupt soon. News 784 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines reported that geologist and Professor Richard Robertson said that more explosions are expected soon, and that the first one was not the biggest.
Indeed, I was moved when I saw President Ali and Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo speaking with the Honorary Consul Nigel Russell on Saturday, when they assured him that help is on the way. Soon after, supplies for the people of St. Vincent left Guyana on Tuesday aboard the Miss Meena ship, after a massive show of support from the local authorities, the private sector and members of the public.
This must be commended by all and sundry here and abroad, because Guyana rose to the occasion and responded without the usual red thread to its neighbour in need. Lest we forget, 5,000 Guyanese are registered as living and staying in St Vincent and some, although out of danger, have been helping others with places to stay temporarily. I want to appeal to Guyanese to give what you can to those affected. It will go to a good cause. Contact the Civil Defence Commission and make arrangements with them. St Vincent has always been good to Guyana; let’s be great to the islands by showing our kindness, love and support as they move forward to rebuild their livelihoods from ashes.