The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, has expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis for the substantial humanitarian contributions provided to his country in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Shortly after the hurricane pummeled Dominica on September 18, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis responded to the needs of the neighbouring Caribbean island by pledging EC$1 million to assist in its recovery and rebuilding efforts.
St. Kitts and Nevis also opened up the RLB International Airport for use as a staging platform for relief efforts into Dominica. In addition to this, all four hospitals on St. Kitts and Nevis were made available for the provision of health services. Moreover, displaced students in Dominica who were registered for upcoming CXC exams were offered free enrollment in St. Kitts and Nevis schools so that they can continue their educational pursuits.
In a letter of appreciation to St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister Skerrit said, “Your dispatch of officers of the St. Kitts and Nevis Police Force for security duties and the contributions of materials and supplies by the private and public sectors of St. Kitts and Nevis have been invaluable contributions to our emergency response in the aftermath of the hurricane. Through you we also wish to thank the people of St. Kitts and Nevis for opening their homes to Dominican families seeking temporary relocation following the devastating effects of the hurricane.”
The Dominican Prime Minister further stated that St. Kitts and Nevis’ response to the needs of his people personifies the true nature of the Caribbean people.
Prime Minister Skerrit continued, “Importantly, your personal expressions of concern at the situation in Dominica have served to reinforce our confidence that as small states, and as CARICOM Member States, we confront our challenges together; and as problematic as they are, natural disasters as Hurricane Maria also serve to strengthen our affinity and hence the Caribbean family.”
The CARICOM Head is of the view that Hurricane Maria and the other deadly storms that affected the region during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season constitute opportunities for advocacy around climate change.
He added, “We must all be prepared to remind our partners in the international community that climate change is real and that the credibility of the Paris Agreement hinges on their willingness to meet their obligations, including funding programmes for building resilience in all small island development states, but particularly those that have become victims of climate change.”
Hurricane Maria, the 13th named hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, caused billions of dollars worth of damage to Dominica’s infrastructure, which included extensive damage to roads and public buildings, such as schools, stores and churches. The category five hurricane is also responsible for the loss of dozens of lives on the Caribbean island.