Trinidad and Tobago is closely monitoring developments at the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
This country stands ready to assist the people there in the event of a possible disaster involving the volcano. This assistance may involve Defence Force personnel if necessary.
Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and National Security Minister Stuart Young gave these assurances on Thursday.
Browne said, "The Government of TT is following the developments with the La Soufriere volcano very closely.
"In his capacity as Caricom chair, the Prime Minister has been briefed and is being kept fully updated on the situation."
On Tuesday, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said Dr Rowley tested positive for covid19. Although he is in quarantine at the Prime Minister's official residence in Blenheim, Rowley has continued to work virtually as prime minister and Caricom chairman. Rowley also holds the national security portfolio in Caricom's quasi-Cabinet.
Browne said, "Contingency plans are being examined as we speak in St Vincent."
He said the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has been mobilised to assist through the Caricom Secretariat. CDEMA is the regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management in Caricom.
Browne said, "We stand in solidarity as always with our brothers and sisters who might be affected by this volcano and TT will certainly do its part to assist the government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines during this time of acute challenge."
A statement issued later by the National Security Ministry said Young has assured St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves that TT stands ready to assist his country "as required in light of increasing activity at the La Soufriere volcano." He spoke with Gonsalves on Thursday, on Rowley's instructions.
Young has instructed acting Brig Gen Dexter Francis to have Defence Force personnel on standby to provide any necessary assistance to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The ministry added that Government will continue to closely monitor the situation and stay in touch with the authorities there.
At a news conference earlier in the day, Gonsalves said, 'The National Emergency Management Council has been activated as our country prepares for a possible disaster involving the La Soufriere volcano. The alert level remains orange, but we must be prepared in the event that an evacuation order is issued."
Officials from the Seismic Research Centre at UWI's St Augustine campus said, "Currently the network has continued to record small earthquakes and the alert level remains at orange. There has also been an increase in steam and volcanic gases observed over the volcano."