Thursday, October 2, 2008

CARICOM Secretariat Coordinates Relief Effort For Haiti

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: In an effort to provide aid to storm-ravaged Haiti, as it recovers from four consecutive storms that have left a huge death toll and thousands displaced, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat has organised a humanitarian drive.

Coordinated by the Secretariat’s Staff Association, the Haitian relief effort saw the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors of the Republic of Suriname, CARICOM Secretariat and its members of staff, the Rotary Clubs of Georgetown, Rotaract and the Guyanese business community providing donations.

A 20ft container with relief supplies, including clothing, school and stationery supplies, food products, water, household items and toiletries were donated through the collaborative effort to assist the people of the French-speaking Caribbean country who are recovering from tropical storms Fay and Hanna and hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

A symbolic handing over ceremony took place at the headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana, on September 27, 2008, when CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite received contributions from Suriname’s Ambassador to CARICOM, Manorma P Soeknandan on behalf of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors of Suriname, Judy Joseph of the Central Rotary Club of Georgetown, Adalia Hooper of Rotaract, Roy Dharson of Metro Office and Computer Supplies.

The much needed relief supplies will be shipped free of cost to Haiti by Seaboard Marine through their local agent John Fernandes Company Limited, which also donated the 20ft container. The container was formally handed over to Ambassador Applewhaite by John Fernandes’ Marketing Representative, Peter Peroune.

Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands have all experienced the ferocity of the hurricanes, but Haiti took the hardest blow. Recent estimates placed the death toll at 426 and the total agricultural losses were reportedly more than US$180 million.

In a show of solidarity for people of Haiti, Secretary-General of CARICOM, Edwin Carrington and other Community officials including CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson visited Gonaives and Porte du Paix; the two most affected areas within the hurricane-ravaged country. The Secretary-General and his team also held discussion on relief and reconstruction efforts with the Prime Minister of Haiti, Michele Duvivier Pierre- Louis.

Several CARICOM countries including Jamaica and The Bahamas rendered assistance to Haiti; a humanitarian effort Carrington described as a “reflexive instinct of oneness” of the Community.

The effects of the tropical storms and hurricanes on the Region were highlighted at the 14th Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Barbados on September 10. The leaders discussed the situation and pledged support to Haiti and other CARICOM states affect by the hurricanes.

Source: CNN

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