CARICOM ready to assist post-Irma recovery efforts
The Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, has expressed his sorrow at the deaths caused by Hurricane Irma.
“This massive storm has already claimed lives in many of the countries and has inflicted severe damage to infrastructure in the affected islands,” the Prime Minister said in a statement. “I extend condolences to the family of the deceased and to the Governments and Peoples of the countries. It is almost impossible to assess the human cost of disasters such as these,” he added.
Prime Minister Mitchell has been kept abreast of the situation through discussions with CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and the Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, (CDEMA) Mr Ronald Jackson. The Chairman has spoken to the leaders of most of the States already affected by the Hurricane, the Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr the Rt Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis and the Chief Minister of Anguilla, the Honourable Victor Banks.
The Chairman has also been in contact with the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Allen Chastanet, the Lead Head of Government for Sustainable Development including Disaster Management in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
“We hope and pray that the countries in the predicted path of the hurricane, Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas and Haiti are spared its worst effects,” Prime Minister Mitchell said.
“The Community stands ready to render whatever assistance it can to assist in the recovery efforts which are being coordinated by CDEMA,” the CARICOM Chairman said.
The Guyana Government today said it is hoping to establish lines of communication to determine the well-being of Guyanese in the affected islands.
At a post cabinet media briefing, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said that the Government of Guyana is saddened by the loss of life and the huge swath of disaster which Irma has resulted in.
As a member of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Guyana said it will continue to examine the situation and based on a collective response, the government will make a contribution to relief efforts.
The parliamentary opposition, the Peoples Progressive Party, has also extended sympathies to leaders and peoples of Caribbean nations which have been ravaged by and those which are still in the path of Hurricane Irma.
“We are also cognizant that a number of Guyanese are residing in the affected islands and others areas that could possibly be in Irma’s path, including parts of Florida. Our thoughts are with them and their relatives,” the party said in a statement.
Reports are that at least 10 persons perished and the tiny island of Barbuda has been wiped out.
Hurricane Irma, dubbed the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, had maximum sustained winds of 175 mph on Thursday afternoon as it moved further away from the northern coast of Puerto Rico and over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The wind speeds had dropped slightly from the day before, by about 10 mph, according to the National Weather Service.