T&T Opens Door To Hurricane Victims

(TT GUARDIAN) – Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago Dr Keith Rowley has announced that children from hurricane-ravaged regions in Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines will be allowed to enter T&T and seek refuge with their families.

The decision was made yesterday in reaction to the pressing need to help and support the hundreds of individuals in the wake of Hurricane Beryl’s devastation and deaths on the islands. Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines faced significant devastation.

“Given the level of total devastation experienced on these islands, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, acknowledging the deep familial ties between these islands and Trinidad and Tobago, has offered to allow school-age children from the devastated zones to be allowed into Trinidad and Tobago if they have family here who may wish to house them during the school holiday period that is upon us at this time,” the PM said.

Back in 2017, Dr Rowley offered accommodation to Dominicans who were left homeless following the passage of Hurricane Maria. At the time, the usual immigration requirements necessary for entry into the country were waived.

However, he did not elaborate on what measures would be put in place for people entering the country on this occasion.

According to a statement issued on Facebook, Dr Rowley said a virtual Caricom meeting was convened where they received an update on the devastation caused by Hurricane Beryl.

Dr Rowley said yesterday that the Government was mobilising relief supplies to be urgently dispatched by marine crafts.

During an interview with the media following the commissioning of Sister Bernadette de la Bastide Wing at Holy Name Convent in Port-of -Spain, yesterday, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said that further details regarding the Prime Minister’s call to accommodate school-aged children have not been ventilated, but she will not rule out facilitating them within the school system.

“We haven’t heard the entire plan; there may be a question of students remaining here to be able to go to school if that is a requirement, and once it is, then we will do what we can to assist. Just as what we are doing with the migrants, of course, we have an obligation to Trinidad and Tobago citizens to ensure they have school placing but once we are able to assist, we will assist and we have assisted before.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne told Guardian Media that various sectors of society were being engaged to provide assistance to the affected islands.

“Caricom is fully mobilised, and Trinidad and Tobago, as always, is contributing significantly to lend a hand to our neighbours in need. I have been working closely with our Minister of Trade and Industry and other arms of government, and the T&T private sector is also responding in an exemplary manner.

With countries facing a mammoth task of rebuilding and recovery Caricom chairman Dr Irfaan Ali called on citizens across territories on Monday to mobilise the necessary relief items.

“I urge all citizens and the private sector of our region to coordinate closely with their respective governments and regional emergency response mechanisms in providing immediate support and relief to those affected by the hurricane. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is already working to mobilise and coordinate assistance and disaster relief even as the storm is still passing through the Windward Islands.”

As part of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) response to the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, teams have been dispatched to Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines to establish telecommunications equipment. CDEMA has also facilitated the transportation of aid and vital supplies to the affected islands.