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CARICOM to Support Hurricane Recovery

CARICOM Chairman Briefing - Top Photo

CARICOM Chairman Briefing - Top PhotoCARICOM Chairman and Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, during his visit to the capital on the weekend, to assess damage inflicted by the wrath of Hurricane Irma, told the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of labour, that he and his team from the Caribbean Community were in the country to not only assess the damage in Ragged Island, but also to give support for what the country faced in the aftermath of the category five storm.


Speaking with reporters upon his arrival, Dr. Mitchell commented that he was happy to be in The Bahamas, but regretted the circumstance which prompted his visit.


“I am happy to be here, but not necessarily in these times when you are under the weather, so to speak,” Dr. Mitchell said.


“The Bahamas has good memories for me. This is where I spent my honeymoon, so I don’t want to see anything [bad] happen to The Bahamas.


“But, let me say this on behalf of the CARICOM community that we are very happy that we have the opportunity to be here with you in this difficult time.

“The Caribbean family of nations have come to terms with the fact that this family unity is so vital for us.”

Dr. Mitchell said in his years of witnessing natural disasters, he has experienced many Caribbean countries coming to the aide of each other and at this time with such a catastrophic storm he and CARICOM felt compelled to bring some type of relief.

“Over the years we have witnessed a number of disasters and every single country and people in those countries have come to individual aide and support,” Dr. Mitchell said.

“Therefore, in your hour of need, we feel compelled and very happy to respond to what has taken place here and to offer all the support CARICOM can give in this difficult time.

“We are very happy to be here. The leadership of CARICOM, we know we have people on the ground, but the leadership of CARICOM felt that we had to be here to demonstrate that at the highest possible level of CARICOM that we are here with you and that we are going to be there supporting you in the immediate needs that you have and of course the reconstruction effort.

As CARICOM chair, Dr. Mitchell said he and his team from the Caribbean community are too assessing damage in other countries affected by Irma and that there is a need to see small countries be given more finances when faced with challenging times such as the onset of natural disasters.

“We just came from the Turks and Caicos and we saw the damage there,” Dr. Mitchell said.

“We were in BVI [British Virgin Islands] and it was completely destroyed with one major building the hospital, which is where the premiere is holding his office

“We were in Anguilla where a lot of destruction we noticed [again] and also in Barbuda where literally there is nobody there except when we went there we met a few horses and a lot of mosquitos.

“So, we know what these things are all about. That’s why we have been stressing that what we have to do in every forum is to restate the position which we have taken that to graduating countries because of so called per capita, that formula is a farce.

“Because in one stroke of the pen, one three hour notice in Grenada for example and the same thing can happen here, where you can have so much disaster that can take you years to recover and especially in a country like The Bahamas, you have so many islands even if you have one that is spared so many other destruction can take place in so many of the islands that you have.”

Speaking in his capacity as Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Mitchell reminisced on the time when his country was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan and the assistance that The Bahamas government rendered to his island.

“Bahamas, when Grenada was destroyed in 2004, the people of The Bahamas not just the government, but the people of The Bahamas came forward with the family and friends and other people there and provided enormous support,” Dr. Mitchell said.

“People took individual initiative and brought goods and services to our country.

“And so, we feel compelled to respond.”

Dr. Mitchell further went on to say that even now, Grenadians are making preparations to assist family and friends in the capital.

“The people home in Grenada have been calling different media houses asking how can they get some of the services to The Bahamas to the friends and family in The Bahamas because there is a lot of connection between Grenada and The Bahamas,” he said.

Dr. Mitchell toured Ragged Island on Saturday with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and a team from both CARICOM and the Bahamas government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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