Trinidad and Tobago sends relief items to SVG, Grenada

Fire officers from the Fire Prevention Unit Central Division dropped off relief supplies to the Heart of the Village Foundation in Chaguaramas to be shipped to Carriacou on July 3.  - Photo by Roger Jacob
Fire officers from the Fire Prevention Unit Central Division dropped off relief supplies to the Heart of the Village Foundation in Chaguaramas to be shipped to Carriacou on July 3. - Photo by Roger Jacob

AFTER Hurricane Beryl ravaged the islands of Grenada and its dependants, Carriacou and Petit Martinique and St Vincent and the Grenadines – Union Island, Canouan, Mayreau and Palm Island and Bequia – help from the government, charitable organisations and other stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago is on the way.

"The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and the TT Defence Force (TTDF) of the Ministry of National Security are supporting the Ministry of Trade and Industry to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Carriacou and Petit Martinique," a release from the ODPM on July 3 said.

The ODPM said these efforts were necessary because of the destruction left in Beryl's wake after the category four storm barrelled through the Windward Islands on July 1.

"The Air Guard of the TTDF, along with the ODPM, conducted aerial reconnaissance on July 2 to provide the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) with information on the extent of damage to the islands."

The ODPM said that same day, two vessels were loaded with supplies and left on the morning of July 3 for Grenada.

"A third vessel is being loaded to head to St Vincent and the Grenadines."

On July 3, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan and Minister of Trade and Industries Paula Gopee-Scoon oversaw the loading of relief supplies, including food, water, hygiene products, medical and healthcare items, construction materials, mattresses and generators at the port in Port of Spain, a press release from the Ministry of Works and Transport said.

"The government of TT remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting its Caribbean counterparts during this challenging period.

"We stand ready to assist in meeting critical needs as our neighbours continue their recovery efforts from the impact of Hurricane Beryl."

The ODPM, along with key stakeholders, said they will continue to support the impacted islands on behalf of the Ministry of National Security.

Heart of the Village Foundation, whose motto is A Beacon of Hope and Community Involvement, is also collecting relief supplies. It was founded in 2009 by Marisha Narinesingh to assist underserved populations.

After seeing the destruction left by Beryl, Narinesingh said she could not stand idly by and began posting to social media on July 2, asking for donations to help Grenada and Carriacou.

"While the foundation gets a lot of the supplies ourselves, we have a lot of citizens that donate, along with SEWA TT – a not-for-profit organisation – and Events Land Ltd and several persons who prefer to stay anonymous."

Christopher Ragbir, a fisherman and captain of Captain David, will take the supplies to Grenada and Carriacou after partnering with the foundation.

Ragbir said his boat is registered in Grenada and he has been back and forth between the islands for the last 20 years.

A screenshot from a video posted by Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell showing the destruction on Carriacou on July 2 after Hurricane Beryl made landfall on July 1. - Photo courtesy Dickon Mitchell's Facebook

"When I woke up on July 2, I saw the destruction on social media (and) I tried to contact the people I know in those areas.

"The communication was really poor and when we got on to them, we realised they needed assistance."

Ragbir said he was questioned by the foundation on his intentions and commitment.

He explained, "These are the guys we buy our bait from (in Grenada) and we know them personally and some are even like family and I just decided to do it out of the goodness of my heart because you never know when you can be in need."

Both Narinesingh and Ragbir said they will probably have to make two or three trips based on the donations they've received so far.

Ragbir said the round trip takes roughly three days and the vessel can carry 20 tonnes of cargo.

Narinesingh said, "There will be more trips because the hurricane season has just started and will affect more neighbours like Jamaica and other islands."

Newsday spoke to Steve Hooker from Australia and Monika Miazek from Poland at the Power Boat Association on Tuesday.

The couple docked their boat in Trinidad the day before Beryl hit.

Hooker said they would take relief supplies to Mayreau in particular.

"There's a lot of relief for the other islands, but no one is talking about Mayreau.

"We know a lot of people there and they're very poor.

"There's no way they'll be able to make up the money they need to sort their issues out and we really want to help them."

The couple made their way to PriceSmart on July 2 to get supplies and load their boat in preparation to leave on July 2 to head to Mayreau.

Miazek said, "We are really based in the Grenadines; that is why our heart is there.

"We can not leave them in need!"

After giving Mayreau help, they plan on returning to the "beautiful island of Trinidad."

With Heart of the Village Foundation planning to continue relief efforts in the future, Narinesingh can be contacted at 375-4439 and on Facebook – Heart of the Village Foundation.


"Trinidad and Tobago sends relief items to SVG, Grenada"

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