CARICOM Leaders Address Hurricane Beryl’s Devastation in Member States

CARICOM Leaders Address Hurricane Beryl’s Devastation in Member States

CARICOM heads of government held two meetings last week with the primary discussion being Hurricane Beryl and the devastation caused to several member countries.  Present at both sittings were Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francis Fonseca where a preliminary assessment was done on the affected islands.  The most impacted were Barbados, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.  In Barbados, the fisheries sector was severely impacted as many fishing vessels and the country’s marina were destroyed.  In Grenada, the damage was also significant, particularly in the outlying islands of the Grenadines where housing and road infrastructure took a massive hit.  There were also two deaths in Grenada.  According to Minister Fonseca, Belize’s hurricane recovery outreach will focus on Grenada.

Francis Fonesca, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “In the case of Grenada the Government of Belize has offered to support them with $100,000 US dollars in direct financial assistance. We have also made available our utility company primarily BEL because of course infrastructure, electricity infrastructure has been badly damaged. So we’re making available wiremen, linemen, linemen from BEL where needed. As well Grenada has shared with CARICOM a list of needed items, a list of goods that they need and so we’re looking at that list to see in addition to the financial contribution how we could support them by sending some items on that list.”

Minister Fonseca Saint Vincent and the Grenadines suffered the most damage by Hurricane Beryl.  Multiple sectors were impacted including housing, tourism, medical and government buildings.  He added that the CARICOM meetings last week only had a preliminary assessments as a more in-depth review is underway.  Belize will be giving assistance to SVG by way of one hundred thousand US dollars from the Consolidated Revenue Fund by way of financial grants.

Francis Fonesca, Minister of Foreign Affairs: It’s clear that the damage to St. Vincent and the Grenadines is in the value of hundreds of millions of dollars they will require to recover. Again, I believe the Prime Minister has made an offer of $100,000 U.S. dollars to help immediate assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As well we are again making available any personnel that they may need from our utility companies. So that’s again we’re on standby. They will tell us when they’re ready for that sort of assistance. I should make note that we’ve also made that available to Jamaica. Jamaica suffered some damage as a result of the hurricane passing through Jamaica and their specific linesmen because they said they suffered a lot of electrical, the grid suffered a lot of damage a lot of lines have come down they need linesmen. So again there we’re working with BEL, and BEL is in contact with their counterparts in Jamaica to see how we can support their recovery efforts in terms of the electrical grid system. So that really encapsulates our efforts. As I said, Belize stands prepared to support in whatever way we can the Prime Minister has made that very clear in our last meeting with CARICOM heads. He offered Belize’s full support. When the more detailed assessment is available we will take a look at that and see, you know. where we can provide further assistance. It’s basically a decision taken by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Cabinet. The Cabinet approved the offer of this assistance last week. And so based on that commitment and that approval, the Minister of Finance then executes, the financial secretary, sends the monies but it comes out of our or general consolidated revenue fund.”

In cases of assistance, the CARICOM Secretariat coordinates with the affected country regarding their needs.  The list is shared with the 15-member countries to streamline the assistance offered.  Minister Fonseca told Love News that the final list will be sent out once the full assessment is completed in terms of the damages sustained.

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