CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Founder of of the UK-headquartered Virgin Group of Companies Sir Richard Branson on Friday hosted a Discussion Forum on post hurricane recovery and reconstruction. The event took place on the margins of this week’s annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington.
Several CARICOM Member States and Associate Members, including Dominica, Antigua/Barbuda, The Bahamas, Anguilla, BVI and Turks and Caicos Islands suffered from the destructive passage of Category Five Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September. CARICOM has been at the forefront of the post hurricane recovery effort, including helping to coordinate a high-level Donor Conference. Sir Richard, who has a home on Necker Island in the BVI, has been advocating a ‘Marshall Plan’ type recovery package for the devastated islands.
CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada (at podium); Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Mr. Allen Chastanet (left) and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on the margins of the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington on Friday.
CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Wednesday completed a tour of hurricane devastated islands and have indicated that arrangements are being made to convene an international Donors Conference to mobilise the ‘significant resources’ required for the recovery effort.
The touring CARICOM Delegation included Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is the CARICOM Institution coordinating the regional hurricane disaster response; and Captain Errington Shurland, Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS).
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Mr. Gaston Browne joined the Delegation for the tour of Barbuda where Government’s assessment shows more than 90 percent of the buildings on the island were destroyed. Prime Minister Browne confirmed that all Barbuda residents have been relocated to sister island Antigua, with just a contingent of military personnel remaining to provide security.
“I’m very grateful for the visit by the CARICOM Chairman, Secretary-General and other members of the delegation. It shows we have other Caribbean brothers and sisters who are standing in solidarity with us,” Prime Minister Browne said after taking the delegation on a walk-though Barbuda’s devastated capital, Codrington.
“Clearly, this is a very difficult time for Antigua and Barbuda and we are very appreciative of the support and, certainly, all of the pledges that will be made,” he added.
In the British Virgin Island, where the delegation toured affected communities and met with Premier Dr Orlando Smith and Government and Disaster Management officials, the focus is on meeting critical immediate needs such as water and food supplies and restoring access to electricity and telecommunications, while simultaneously working on arrangements for getting students back into schools and getting critical sectors of the economy such as tourism and financial services back up to speed. Premier Smith noted that the Government headquarters building is among the those destroyed and his office has had to be re-located to the main hospital building.
Anguilla’s Chief Minister Mr. Victor Banks, who joined the CARICOM Delegation on the tour of his island where the main hospital, schools and 90 percent of the homes were damaged, said he is also working to address the pressing need for food, water, building supplies and electricity and confronting any challenges to the critical tourism sector. (more…)
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Mr. Gaston Browne joined CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada, and Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on a tour of the hurricane ravaged island of Barbuda, Wednesday.
Hurricane Irma destroyed or damaged more than 90 percent of Barbuda’s houses and the entire population has since been transferred to Antigua.
The CARICOM Chairman and Secretary-General got a first hand view of the devastation and the opportunity to speak to CARICOM’s ongoing coordination of the Caribbean Community’s response to Irma’s impact on Barbuda and the other affected islands.
The Executive Director of CDEMA – the lead CARICOM Institution for Disaster Management and the Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS) were also part of the CARICOM Delegation.