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TT ready to help St Vincent

By SEAN DOUGLAS Saturday, December 28 2013

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday, in a statement, said she has spoken to Prime Minister of storm-ravaged St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Dr Ralph Gonsalves giving him the commitment that Trinidad and Tobago is ready and willing to assist that country.

St Vincent along with St Lucia and Dominica were lashed by a major storm on Christmas Eve which led to widespread infrastructural damage in SVG where eight deaths were blamed on the storm while in St Lucia, five persons were killed.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister stated that Persad-Bissessar, as Caricom chairman and lead Prime Minister on security in the region, spoke with Dr Gonsalves following the storm.

“Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar expressed her sympathies for the families who lost loved ones and those whose homes were destroyed and flooded by the inclement weather,” said the statement.

“The prime ministers also spoke of the extensive damage to the infrastructure of SVG including flooding of the only major hospital, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, and damage done to the ET Joshua Airport.

“Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar assured Prime Minister Gonsalves that Trinidad and Tobago is willing to assist St Vincent and the Grenadines with relief efforts and emergency supplies as necessary,” said the statement.

“As such, an assessment team comprising Dr Stephen Ramroop, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall, Regional Security Coordinator in the Office of the Prime Minister, went to St Vincent today (yesterday) to ascertain the needs of the islands.” After the initial assessment, Kelshall was expected to meet Gonsalves yesterday.

TT relief supplies were yesterday sent to St Lucia on a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flight.

Persad-Bissessar was yesterday telephoned by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who assured that Barbados also stands ready to assist in relief efforts to its Caricom partners.

National Security Minister Gary Griffith said there may be a need to send members of the TT Defence Force’s Engineering Battalion to assist in rebuilding in SVG.

“They have been badly hit. I have given Prime Minister Gonsalves my line of communication.

We await the return of Mr Kelshall and Mr Ramroop, to see what assistance we can provide,” Griffith said. He said Ramroop and Kelshall were due to return to TT last night.

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