Eight-man delegation takes aid to St Lucia

| 16/11/2010

(CNS): MLAs Cline Glidden, Captain Eugene Ebanks, chief officers Carson Ebanks, Kearney Gomez, the cabinet secretary Orrett Connor, Cayman Red Cross disaster manager, Hemant Balgobin and Operation Blessing International president Bill Horan all accompanied Mckeeva Bush, the country’s premier, last week on a relief mission to St. Lucia. The Cayman Islands delegation took 18,000 pounds of relief supplies and a cheque for US$50,000 to the island on Thursday, aboard a special CAL charter to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas. Welcomed by St Lucia’s prime minister Bush said that the trip reminded him of the devastation Cayman had suffered in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.

“I wish we could offer more, but with these donations come our prayers,” the premier said on arrival in the country,
Having personally experienced the aftermath of Hurricanes Ivan and Paloma he explained that he understood the challenges faced by those affected and offered some advice. “This is the time for everyone – opposition members, non-government organisations and citizens – to work together. Everyone’s cooperation will make the recovery process much faster and easier,” he added.

Grateful for the donations, the prime minister of St. Lucia, Stephenson King said the country knew it had a friend out there. “In future times of need we too can reach out when there’s a challenge on the other side,” King added as he immediately gave the monetary donation to St. Lucia’s children who he said had lost learning equipment including textbooks, computer labs and school furniture. “This will go a long way in assisting at least one classroom in getting back to normalcy and getting on with their education programme.”

Bush presented another cheque for US$50,000 to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the director general; Dr. Len Ishmael accepted it on behalf of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and their PM Ralph Gonsalves. “Thank you so much, Premier Bush, for making this trip and for standing in solidarity with your Caribbean brothers and sisters,” she said. “We share a common bond historically. We are a family and this is a mark of friendship from your people to ours.”

Some 96,000 St. Lucians remain without potable water. During Hurricane Tomas the pumping and production centre at the island’s dam, capable of generating 8 million gallons of water daily, was damaged. As such, Operation Blessing International has committed two water filtration and purification plants capable of filtering and disinfecting 10,000 gallons of water per day.
The Charity’s Director of International Disaster Relief David Darg, who accompanied Premier Bush on the relief mission, remained in St. Lucia to assist with installation of the plants and training locals in the operation and maintenance of the equipment.
Lenard Montoute one of St. Lucia’s minister’s, explained that nationals were literally fighting for water that had been trucked post-Tomas to affected areas. “For you to drop in drinking water… I can assure you that there’s no better gesture,” he said. “The water purifiers will be especially valuable since we have people accessing water from some undesirable sources and we want to avoid the outbreak of any waterborne diseases.”
In the meantime St. Lucian engineers and technicians, along with experts from Trinidad and Grenada, continue working to repair the broken dam.
Reflecting on Cayman’s terrible experience during hurricane Ivan, Bush said that his visit to St. Lucia brought back many memories.
"Remembering how desperate our situation was then, it was a great feeling to know that we could help the people of St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in their time of need."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.