— as second vessel with supplies arrives in St Vincent and the Grenadines
WHILE receiving another shipment of relief supplies from Guyana on Sunday, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, and Information Technology in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Camillo Gonsalves said that Guyana has been “exceedingly generous” to the island.
After the initial eruption of La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent on April 9, countries have been pooling resources to help the Caribbean island. On Sunday, the vessel ‘Lady Fazeela’ arrived in the country with relief supplies, after making a stop in Barbados to provide relief supplies there. Barbados has been affected by ash fall from the eruption in SVG. This is the second vessel dispatched to SVG from Guyana.
“We are very, very humbled by the outpouring of support and solidarity that we have gotten from the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” Minister Gonsalves said on Sunday, while receiving the vessel.
The finance minister explained that from the moment the volcano exploded, President Ali made contact with the Prime Minister of SVG, Ralph Gonsalves to ascertain the needs of the volcano-affected country.
“As soon as the Prime Minister explained our needs and challenges, President Ali was mobilising support in Guyana and ordinary citizens in Guyana were mobilising support to ensure that their brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could be made more comfortable in this very challenging time,” the Finance Minister told members of the Vincentian media.
Some of the items received in this second shipment include: more than 10,000 cases of water, more than 1,000 food hampers and perishable food items such as fruits and vegetables and over 150 water tanks. There are also cleaning and sanitary items and molasses.
The minister noted that several countries across the Region and farther afield have demonstrated their solidarity with SVG by providing relief items to be used in the shelters where the evacuated and affected people are staying.
“We should single out today the Government and People of the Cooperative Republic Guyana because they have been exceedingly generous. There are some countries who have sent one boat but Guyana has already sent two boats and more to come,” Minister Gonzalves highlighted.
He also said that Guyana has demonstrated “genuine solidarity” and underscored, “This boat is a symbol that with the help of our friends, SVG will rise again and build back better and will return to normalcy in the shortest possible time.”
“Guyana understands our responsibility to CARICOM [the Caribbean Community], we understand our role in CARICOM and I want to assure Prime Minister (of Barbados) Mia Mottley and Prime Minister Gonsalves that not only are we with them in this immediate term, but we are with them throughout the process of rebuilding – not only the physical infrastructure, but rebuilding the lives that would have been affected,” President Ali said before the Lady Fazeela departed.
Meanwhile, the Guyanese Honorary Consul in SVG, Nigel Russell, said that he was “heartened” by this shipment since he is cognisant of the efforts made to organise the supplies.
The local authorities continue to mobilise resources so that more relief can be sent to SVG. Additionally, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, has said that possible repatriation arrangements for Guyanese in SVG are being assessed.