Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said Thursday that the regional grouping had mobilized to support St Vincent and the Grenadines as it faces the possibility of an imminent eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.
Following an evacuation order of the immediate area around the volcano by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, CARICOM member states offered support to house evacuees from the affected area.
In a statement issued as residents were moving to safe zones or to board cruise ships that had arrived to transport evacuees to neighbouring islands, Rowley said the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) had activated its regional support operation, including the deployment of a specialist to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. CDEMA is providing technical assistance to NEMO with Evacuation and Logistics Planning.
“The Community stands with the Government and People of St Vincent and the Grenadines in this perilous situation,” said the CARICOM chairman who is in isolation and under medical supervision in Tobago after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Earlier, the Trinidad and Tobago government had issued a separate statement promising its support.
It said Minister of National Security Stuart Young had instructed the Acting Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier General Dexter Francis, to have members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force on standby to provide any assistance that may be necessary.
Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali also assured Prime Minister Gonsalves of his government’s “full support in dealing with this looming crisis”.
“The Prime Minister and I discussed immediate support, which will be required in the response. The Prime Minister indicated that apart from the need to evacuate citizens, there were other emergency material needs. I committed to him that Guyana, upon receiving the full list of their needs, would immediately put together a national response to supply the items and arrange for them to be shipped to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
“At this time, we would like to assure the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines of Guyana’s unwavering support and solidarity,” Ali added.