A HUNDRED TT troops, made up of defence force, coast guard and the air guard personnel, set off on a Caribbean Airlines jet hours yesterday to embark on a mission to bring relief to the citizens of Bahamas which was devastated by hurricane Dorian last week.
Right before their departure, Minister of National Security Stuart Young addressed the contingent of soldiers seamen and airmen, and expressed pride in their effort to bring support to the people of the Bahamas.
“As a citizen of TT, I continue to be extremely proud of the TT Defence Force. In any time of need, for whatever it may be – natural disaster, assistance to law enforcement, and even what civilians may think are some of the simplest tasks – one organisation I know we can count on is the Defence Force,” Young said. “All the right thinking citizens and the government of TT are fully behind you.”
The troops would be in Bahamas for the next 30 days assisting and supporting in any way they can, even with enforcing law and upholding order if necessary.
They won’t be going alone. Tagging along with the troops will be technical officers and engineers from T&TEC who will be surveying the damage and providing ideas to rebuild in the wake of the hurricane. Young added he was in contact with the ministry of Public Utilities who assured that engineers from WASA will also be visiting the islands to assess what they can do to help.
The troops will be going with supplies, which include toiletries, food and medication. Young thanked Bermudez, who assisted with supplying food to assist in relief efforts; Caribbean Airlines Ltd, who expedited the process to ensure the troops got to Bahamas in the fastest time possible; and National Petroleum, who agreed to provide the fuel for the flight to the Bahamas and back.
Young said he would also be going to the Bahamas, along with the Chief of Defence Staff Air Commodore Darryl Daniel, in order to get a first-hand look at the devastation. However, Young and Daniel were expected to return to TT last night.
Although there have been no reports of any TT citizens who had been affected by the hurricane while there, Young still made a call to any TT citizen trapped in the Bahamas saying they would be able to be taken home with the return trip.
Dorian, a category 5 hurricane, hit the Bahamas last Sunday. So far, about 44 fatalities owing to the storm have been reported and hundreds remain missing in its wake. The UN believes at least 70,000 people were left homeless in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama.
The path of the hurricane goes all the way up the eastern coast of North America and was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone as it made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday.