Strong CARICOM support for hurricane ravaged Dominica

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (centre in light clothing) poses with regional hurricane relief workers
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Barbados coast guard vessel arrives in Dominica
The Governments and people of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States continue to actively support their sister country Dominica following Monday night’s devastating passage of Category 5 Hurricane Maria.

“We’ve lost all that money can buy”, Prime Minister Roosevelt had disclosed after surveying the widespread damage to houses and infrastructure.  A number of deaths have also been reported.

The government of close neighbour Antigua and Barbuda, while still itself in recovery mode from another Category Five Hurricane, Irma’s destructive passage over Barbuda, made an immediate pledge of US$300,000, to which Tourism Minister Asot Michael added a further US$100,000.  Antigua-Barbuda’s state and private broadcast media, in particular ABS Radio and TV have been providing a critical connection between Dominica’s residents and the rest of the world, especially  during the period when all broadcast and internet services were down. ABS TV  provided the first broadcast by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the world after his initial aerial tour of the devastation.

  VIDEO: Prime Minister Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago

Barbados was also quick out the blocks, putting two coast guard vessels at Dominica’s disposal to help transport technical personnel and supplies. The vessels left Bridgetown loaded with water and other emergency supplies donated by Barbadians in heavily supported collection drives.  Barbados has also arranged to provide much needed doctors and nurses to assist with critical medical services.

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Emergency supplies arrive via coast guard vessel
With rural communities cut off by damaged or blocked roadways, Trinidad and Tobago’s helicopter service proved critical for transporting emergency personnel and assessment teams to the remote villages for damage assessment, to extract the injured and stranded, and to deliver  emergency supplies. Trinidad and Tobago had previously  provided its helicopter  to the Antigua and Barbuda government to assist with emergency services between Antigua and sister-island Barbuda which lost more than 90 percent of its houses to Hurricane Irma and which, as a result, had to be totally evacuated. The Trinidad and Tobago government also announced that it will waive the immigration requirements for residents of Dominica for a period of six months as the CARICOM Member State rebuilds.

The Dominica Government welcomed contingents of police officers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Jamaica among others to assist with security during this recovery period. Grenada announced that a detachment from its Special Services Unit has joined an earlier team of communication and logistics officers supporting the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU).  Jamaica made available 120 members of its Defence Force Disaster Response Team to help with maintaining public order, engineering, relief distribution and damage assessment.  Saint Lucia’s police contingent was joined by fire and rescue officers as well as disaster assessment officials from the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).   (more…)

CARICOM Solidarity with hurricane-ravaged Dominica at the UN General Assembly

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Representatives of CARICOM Member States and the CARICOM Secretariat were among the many delegates who expressed sympathy with Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit following his stirring speech to the UN General Assembly on Saturday.  The Prime Minister’s address came just a few days after Category 5 Hurricane Maria devastated his island, causing at least 15 deaths and widespread damage to houses and infrastructure.

Mr Skerrit in his address said:

Mr. President,

We dug graves today in Dominica!

We buried loved ones yesterday and I am sure that as I return home tomorrow, we shall discover additional fatalities, as a consequence of this encounter.

Our homes are flattened!
Our buildings roofless!

Our water pipes smashed…and road infrastructure destroyed!

Our hospital is without power!…and schools have disappeared beneath the rubble.

Our crops are uprooted.

Where there was green there is now only dust and dirt!

The desolation is beyond imagination.
Mr. President, fellow leaders – The stars have fallen…..!

Eden is broken!!

The nation of Dominica has come here to declare an international humanitarian emergency. One that is centred in Dominica but also encompasses many of our neighbours including our sister isle, Antigua which had to evacuate its citizens from Barbuda.

Read full address:  (more…)

CARICOM Foreign Ministers meet in New York

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CARICOM Foreign Ministers and the Secretary-General at the last meeting of the COFCOR in May 2017

CARICOM’s response to the increasing number of HIV/AIDS infections regionally is among  matters prioritised for discussions among Foreign Ministers on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

The 10th Special Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Foreign and Community Relations began today, 22 September 2017, in New York, USA.

Foreign Ministers are also discussing the scaling down of MINUSTAH (the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti), as well as the UN response to the cholera epidemic there. The Sustainable Development goals, especially the regional priorities for climate change, are also on the agenda. (more…)

CCRIF to make US$19M payout to Dominica following passage of Hurricane Maria

Damage to homes and vehicles in wake of  Hurricane Maria
Damage to homes and vehicles in wake of Hurricane Maria

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, September 22, 2017. CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) announced today that Dominica will receive a payout of US$19,294,800 under its tropical cyclone policy following the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 19. This payout will be made within 14 days of the hurricane.

CCRIF was designed to provide quick liquidity to governments of the Caribbean and Central America following catastrophic impacts from tropical cyclones, earthquakes and excess rainfall. Dominica also holds an excess rainfall policy with CCRIF and assessments as to whether that policy was triggered are ongoing and will be determined in the next few days.

This payout brings the total CCRIF payouts since the start of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season to about US$50.7 million and CCRIF’s payouts since its inception in 2007 to approximately US$120 million.

Devastation in Dominica
Devastation in Dominica
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF)
CCRIF SPC is a segregated portfolio company, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean. It limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and excess rainfall events to Caribbean and – since 2015 – Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered. It is the world’s first regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving member governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake, hurricane and excess rainfall catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalised through contributions to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments. In 2014, an MDTF was established by the World Bank to support the development of CCRIF SPC’s new products for current and potential members, and facilitate the entry for Central American countries and additional Caribbean countries. The MDTF currently channels funds from various donors, including: Canada, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; the United States, through the Department of the Treasury; the European Union, through the European Commission, and Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. CCRIF is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – 2017.
(more…)