Wednesday, April 14, 2021 — As the volcanic disaster in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines continues to unfold, regional solidarity is once again at the forefront of relief efforts.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda began its response efforts on Thursday April 8, 2021 after Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne consulted with his counterpart in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonzalves. It was at this juncture that Antigua and Barbuda agreed to accept 250 Vincentian evacuees who would be accommodated at the Jolly Beach Hotel. The gesture was part of a wider regional response to the developing situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prime Minister Browne said,
"I want to reaffirm the commitment of Antigua and Barbuda to assist our brothers and sisters in Saint Vincent. We are already mobilizing here. We recognize that we are in this together. We are part of a common union and we have to stand in solidarity with each other during times of crisis."
In addition to accommodation, the Government of Antigua extended support and services to evacuees. While in Antigua, the Ministry of Health will provide medical support; the Transport Board will provide the necessary transportation for official movement; the Ministry of Education will facilitate the education of students; the security forces will provide security as necessary for the well-being of all; and the Ministry of Works will assist with physical security if necessary.
Donations from corporate and civic organizations as well as the national warehouse in Antigua and Barbuda were coordinated through the National Office of Disaster Services. So far, support has been received from Mega Distributors, the Lion’s Club, Best Buy, the Rotary Club of Antigua, Premier Beverages, GCS Bottling Services Ltd, and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross. These donations, which included water, water tanks, housing supplies, personal care items, mosquito nets, generators, lanterns, flashlights, and relief kits, were shipped in a 20-foot container on Monday April 12, 2021.
Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, said
“It is truly commendable that in times of crisis, we can depend on the solidarity and support of our region. This, more than anything else, proves that we are stronger together.”
The OECS Commission is helping to facilitate the response and relief efforts for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Anyone who wishes to assist can join the Stronger Together Campaign.
OECS Communications Unit
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States