The Barbados Defence Force’s (BDF) Field Medical Facility (FMF) has been welcomed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), where it is presently deployed to take part in Exercise Tradewinds 2019 (EX TW19).
Minister of National Mobilization in SVG, Frederick Stephenson, welcomed the facility, noting that the Caribbean was now in the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season, and that the island has an active volcano, which last erupted in 1979.
He made these comments during an interview with the BDF FMF’s public relations team at the Biabou Playing Field on Saturday, where the FMF is currently set up, in preparation for Phase 2 of EX TW19, which gets under way tomorrow, Monday, June 17.
“I am looking forward to seeing the work you will be doing here. I am sure the community of Biabou will be able to come and access the facility and use it,” he said, adding that persons could be diagnosed and sent to the island’s nearby polyclinic or hospital for further treatment, if required.
The minister explained that the Biabou Playing Field was selected for the FMF to “play” during the exercise because it was the most central area for those likely to be affected by the La Soufriere volcano.
Mr. Stephenson also donated a load of Rabacca sand, which consists of material from the volcano, to assist with improving the entrance to the camp site, which was muddied as a result of recent heavy rains.
He said the material was used in building construction, for houses and roads.
“It has a texture that is a mixture of sand and fine stones. There are larger stones as a component of what comes down from the volcano. It is also used to assist with helping with flooding. It sucks up water and binds it. We are trying to help you here,” he explained.
One of the medical doctors volunteering with the facility, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, welcomed the gesture, noting that the soggy driveway would have presented an access challenge for ambulances and other vehicular traffic during the exercise.
“We are grateful for his generosity because the minister has taken a keen interest in the facility,” she said.
She added that it was also welcomed by the Biabou community, where people were coming to enquire if they could become volunteers. (BDF Field Medical Facility)