Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2013 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Persad-Bissessar also received a call yes-
terday from Barbados Prime Minister Fre-
undel Stuart, assuring his country stands
ready to help with relief efforts for its Cari-
The St Vincent government said it would
need millions of dollars to rebuild the coun-
try, which has been battered by the disaster,
which left eight dead and at least five others
missing, Kenton Chance of the Caribbean
News Agency reported yesterday.
The report said Gonsalves, who returned
to the island from a London holiday on
Boxing Day, dubbed yesterday "Clean up
Kingstown Day." Kingstown is the capital
of St Vincent.
"Let us work together, we will recover,
we will rehabilitate this country and we will
do it in the shortest possible time," Gonsalves
told the media in St Vincent, shortly after
attending a meeting with disaster and emer-
gency officials after his arrival home.
Gonsalves said according to the briefing
he received, the country had experienced
"a disaster of a proportion the likes of which
we have not seen in living memory." He said
the destruction caused by a weather system
called a trough resulted in the loss of hun-
dreds of millions of dollars on the island,
which has a population of 110,000.
"Over the next few days, we will get a
clearer picture as to the full extent," he said.
Chance reported that the government
advised yesterday that given the state of
Kingstown, activity in the city should be
kept at a minimum, and Gonsalves had
called on all workers in essential services
to report for duty.
"I want to repeat, it is not a bank holiday
but is essentially to clean up Kingstown,"
Gonsalves reportedly told citizens.
Gonsalves said getting to Kingstown from
some areas would be difficult because of
He also expressed gratitude for lives
"As difficult as the circumstances are, we
are fortunate to be alive," Gonsalves said.
"It pains me greatly. Those who have suf-
fered material loss, I am also deeply pained
to help. We have had a very difficult hit."
He said when the dust settled, the St
Vincent government would build a mon-
ument to those who died.
A T&T Guardian freelancer who is cur-
rently at home in St Vincent, Tenille Austin,
said the northern half of the island, from
Georgetown to Sancy, was cut off from
Kingstown because the Caratal Bridge was
broken in two.
She said while electricity was restored in
many areas, most of the country was in a
mess and getting pipe-borne water remained
a major problem.
She said the country needed construction
materials, food and water and help had been
coming from T&T and Grenada.
A lot of farmers livestock died and fields
of banana, a main crop in St Vincent, were
lost in the floods, she said.
Austin said in the Kingstown area, res-
idents who spent Christmas Eve and Christ-
mas Day without water have been assem-
bling at the headquarters of the Central
Water & Sewerage Authority (CWSA) to
receive buckets of water from a tank in the
yard. The CWSA has also been delivering
truck-borne water to residents in other
Austin, who lives near Kingstown, said
she was not sure how villagers in the north-
ern half of the island who were cut off have
"A lot of the rivers overflowed their banks
and the water may be dirty. But there are
springs and standpipes."
Garth Saunders, CEO of the CWSA, told
the local Searchlight newspaper it could
cost EC$20 million to restore water to the
island. He said 75 per cent of the country s
water supply was damaged, with eight of
the 11 water systems being simultaneously
put out of commission.
Dominica News Online yesterday reported
the island s Cabinet had met to plan the
way forward after the Christmas disaster.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit cut short
his US vacation and returned home to deal
with the mass flooding and destruction.
"I have visited the persons and areas
affected and I must say that it s not a pleas-
ant sight to have seen people in that state,
especially during Christmas," he said.
"The government has committed itself
to assisting those affected, including the
hotels of Ever Green and Anchorage."
The OPM release yesterday said T&T was
ready to assist its Caricom neighbours, but
no specific mention was made of Dominica,
also severely affected by floods caused by
a deadly weather system, but where no lives
were reported lost.
CEO of the Government Information
Services Ltd Andy Johnson told the T&T
Guardian he did not know if Dominica had
asked for assistance.
"We are focusing on St Vincent and St
Lucia," he said.
"The assistance to these countries was
based on discussions the Prime Minister
held with Dr Gonsalves and requests for
Johnson said if Dominica asked for help
he was sure the request would be considered.
in St Lucia
St Lucia needs tens of millions of dollars to
get back on its feet, says Prime Minister Kenny
He made the comment to 16 members of the
T&T media who accompanied officials from the
Office and Disaster Preparedness (ODPM) and
Office of the Prime Minister to St Lucia yesterday,
to drop off aid supplies in the wake of flooding
and landslides which ravaged that country earlier
Anthony said the latest disaster would be hard
to recover from quickly, especially since the island
was just recovering from Hurricane Thomas which
dealt a terrible blow to St Lucia.
He said in his constituency of Vieux Fort South,
residents had lost everything as flood waters rose
to as high as eight feet. Some 500 residents, Antho-
ny said, were now in shelters.
Recounting the moments leading up to the
storm, Anthony said: "By five o clock on Christmas
Eve it was fairly clear what was happening. I live
in the area close to the city on a hill and I was
marooned for quite a while. I couldn t leave my
On a brief tour of the island yesterday, huge
trees, mounds of sand and other debris were strewn
Highways and other major roads were ripped
apart by powerful flood waters, leaving gaping
holes, some deep as eight metres.
Anthony said communities in Bexon were the
most affected, as they also suffered severe dev-
astation by Hurricane Thomas some three years
Homes remained completely submerged yes-
terday in Vieux Fort South, the hardest hit area
in St Lucia.
Anthony said it had been very distressing that
some people had still not been able to return to
their homes because they were filled with mud
He said: "This is very distressing to say the least.
Many people have not ben able to return to their
homes because their homes are filled with mud
"And so it is going to take some time for them
to clean their homes and return," he added.
Anthony praised the efforts of the T&T Gov-
ernment, saying T&T was the first responder to
Meanwhile, press secretary to St Lucia PM, Jadia
Jn Pierre, said the St Lucian government was eter-
nally grateful to T&T.
"Your assistance would bring smiles to many
in St Lucia," she said, adding the T&T government
was one of the first responders.
Members of the T&T media left Piarco Inter-
national Airport yesterday afternoon on a CAL
737 aircraft which took aid supplies to the island,
which was battered by flooding on Christmas Day.
St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica
were also ravaged by flooding due to the powerful
weather system, which left 14 people dead---eight
in St Vincent and six in St Lucia.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar, chairman of Caricom and lead Prime
Minister on security in the region, visited St Lucia
after mandating the ODPM to assist that country
with emergency supplies including canned goods,
biscuits, infant formula, mattresses, blankets,
hygiene kits, disaster kits and first aid kits.
St Lucia was the only island to request assistance
from T&T. Also on Thursday, the T&T Air Guard
made two trips to the island and delivered 100
cases of water.
Water woes in St Lucia
needs big bucks
to bounce back
Curious onlookers survey the damage done to the bridge and road in Anse Ger, St Lucia, which
collapsed after heavy rains on Christmas eve, yesterday. PHOTO COURTESY: BILL MORTELY
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