(CARICOM) – CARICOM member states have received much-needed support in their fight against COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation, the Jack Ma Foundation and the United Arab Emirates donated US$700,000 in supplies which was delivered to the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) head office in Barbados.
The supplies have since been distributed to CARICOM member states and associated members.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley was on hand to receive the supplies at a special ceremony held at the airport.
She said: “I want to thank WHO for being responsive but also for going beyond that because what you see today is only one example of that generous commitment to work on behalf of the smaller states.”
According to PM Mottley it’s imperative that smaller states have access to supplies and are able to procure same at prices that are usually reserved for larger countries.
She explained: “Therefor St Kitts with 40, 000 people will have the same access as Nigeria with 200 million people and that is the fundamental policy space that we have negotiated to make a difference to the people of the Region.”
Guyana welcomed its share of the supplies with a special ceremony at the airport on Thursday, where the Civil Defence Commission and Ministry of Health also applauded the collaborative effort.
“In responding to COVID-19 and any emergency of disaster, it is important for a collaborative response, and we welcome donations and support from all the different stakeholders as we collectively respond to COVID-19,” Director General of the Civil Defence Commission Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig told the ceremony.
CDEMA’s Executive Director Elizabeth Riley has noted the role being played by the Logistics Hub in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its wider work for the region.
She said: “The CDEMA Coordinated Integrated Regional Logistics Hub serves as a trans-shipment point for COVID-19 related relief supplies and will aid the coordination of humanitarian logistics. The IRLH is established as part of the COVID-19 response and will be available throughout the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane and possibly beyond as a legacy facility.”
Maritime operations for the hub are based at the Barbados Port and Air operations are based at the Grantley Adams International Airport – GAIA.
The Government of Canada has re-allocated CAD 401,359 from the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project, towards the establishment and operations of the hub and operations are supported by the World Food Programme.