As the first Barbados Coast Guard vessel arrived in Dominica this morning, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart pledged Barbados’ commitment to assisting the hurricane-ravaged island in its recovery efforts.
The Prime Minister, who has responsibility for Defence and Security, said that Barbados would continue to send vessels with supplies and personnel to the island for as long as was necessary.
Mr. Stuart extended condolences to the Government and people of Dominica in respect of the loss of life.
“We in Barbados are deeply saddened over the destruction caused by Category 5 Hurricane Maria. The devastation wrought by Maria will now put Dominica in a position where it has to start from scratch.
“The Caribbean has faced a turbulent hurricane season so far with many of our neighbours facing severe challenges. Together, we will recover, family helping family, as we in the region collectively work to rebuild and restore,” he stated.
He gave the assurance that his Government would continue to monitor the situation and communicate with the Government of Dominica and “respond in every way we can to the effort to get that sister CARICOM country back on track”.
The Prime Minister also commended the quick response of Barbadians to the call by the Barbados Defence Force yesterday for supplies to help Dominicans.
[x_pullquote cite=”Prime Minister Freundel Stuart” type=”left”]Together, we will recover, family helping family, as we in the region collectively work to rebuild and restore.[/x_pullquote]
“We have put at the disposal of Dominica two coast guard vessels for the purposes of transporting technical personnel, manpower resources and supplies from Barbadians to help that country stabilise and start its trek back.
“Despite our own economic challenges, we have shown our generosity of spirit and a willingness to put aside our own issues, and open our hearts and pockets to ease the plight of our neighbours. This is the essence of what it means to be Barbadian, part of the CARICOM community and the wider Caribbean family,” Mr. Stuart declared.
The Prime Minister urged Barbadians to continue to be vigilant during this hurricane season and “take seriously” the information from the Barbados Meteorological Services and the Department of Emergency Management. He also thanked Barbadians for the calm and level-headedness displayed during this very difficult period.
Mr. Stuart also took the opportunity to remind all that “we are vulnerable countries in this region”. He contended, therefore, that assessing the islands on the basis of how their economies were performing at any particular time was misleading.
“All of our gains can be wiped out in a few hours by a serious hurricane as is now the case with Dominica, Barbuda and others; and as was the case some years ago with Grenada, Jamaica and others,” he argued.