Government will be setting up a bank account on Monday to give persons at home and abroad an opportunity to provide financial assistance to those who were impacted by Hurricane Elsa.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made this disclosure today as she addressed a press conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, to discuss matters relating to the aftermath of Hurricane Elsa, which seriously affected the island on Friday, July 2.
Ms. Mottley said family and friends living overseas had already reached out to ascertain how they could assist citizens at this difficult time.
“We will be asking the Director of Finance to ensure that there’s an account opened Monday morning, which will allow those who want to make financial donations to be able to do so. And once that is opened with the bank, that information will be shared with the media and on social media,” she disclosed.
The Prime Minister noted that some persons had a preference to making in-kind donations, and they too, she stressed, would be accommodated.
“The Government will work with civil society and will designate a few entities to receive on our behalf, and Minister Colin Jordan, who is responsible for the Third Sector, will address that, hopefully on Monday, and let you know who are those designated entities that we will ask to help us,” she said.
Ms. Mottley noted that some people lost clothes and property as a result of the cyclone and would now have to start over. “We don’t want it to be just a case of endless donations, so we want the 48 hours too, to be able to give them an idea of the kinds of things that we believe people will need,” she said.
She explained that a registry would be set up, similar to a wedding or baby shower, where persons could identify what they intended to donate.
“We want to minimise the …wastage as much as possible. We are aware that many of those who are making the sacrifice to send, they themselves are also in difficulties because of the pandemic,” she indicated.
In addition, the Prime Minister said a register would be created, managed by the Ministry of Housing, to allow artisans and labourers to hone their skills and develop new ones.
She pointed out that a number of teaching videos on construction had already been developed and they would be shared in smaller packages, so the artisan, contractor and homeowner were aware of what was required.
She expressed Government’s commitment to assist Barbadians during this difficult time, saying over 900 homes had been damaged and some people had lost everything.
“Rest assured, we understand that it takes cash to care and rest assured that the Government will exercise all due diligence…,” she said.
Ms. Mottley noted that Barbados received payouts from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility when tropical storms Tomas and Kirk impacted the island.
“That’s why we asked people to call the DEM or let us know so that we can ensure that all damage is appropriately recorded in one central location, whether it is housing, infrastructural or otherwise, so that we can manage our finances appropriately and make sure that we can appropriately account for all that we’re doing,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley said the Ministry of People Empowerment would be arranging counselling for persons in need of such a service, utilising the traditional counsellors and those from religious organisations.
She said the Sanitation Service Authority would be asked to put specific arrangements in place for cleanup of the galvanise, wood and debris now littering the island as a result of the passage of Elsa.