Chief Sec: Tobago to help hurricane-ravaged islands

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine. –

CHIEF SECRETARY Farley Augustine says the THA intends to launch a humanitarian effort to assist the islands that were ravaged by Hurricane Beryl within the past few days.

“We will announce the co-ordinating team that will co-ordinate the response,” he said on the Tobago Updates morning show on July 3.

Augustine, who was accompanied by new Secretary, Trade and the Economy, Petal-Ann Roberts, said Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) director Allan Stewart is expected to lead the team.”

“Essentially, we are going to corral Tobagonians to give and give generously through our family in Grenada, in particular Carriacou, St Vincent through Union Island.

“I saw where the Prime Minister of Grenada (Dickon Mitchell) indicated that about 92 per cent of all properties in Carriacou were either damaged or completely destroyed. That is a staggering amount for a country that experienced Ivan not so long ago.”

Saying the devastation in Carriacou is a “massive setback” to the island, Augustine said, “I want Tobagonians to not see themselves as just being lucky. I don’t want Tobagonians to see this from an arrogant perspective, that God resides here. But I want them to appreciate the mercies of God.“I want them to appreciate that we might have got away this time, but this might have just been a dress rehearsal for the next time and that we ought to remain vigilant and when we say, ‘Look, a hurricane is coming,’ these are the steps we take and we ought to be vigilant and adhere to those instructions. We should not be liming and trying to fish out a goat on the day of a hurricane. We should be prepared always.”

Jamaica was also badly affected by the category four hurricane, which reportedly killed two people there.

Augustine said the members of the THA had discussed the issue at the executive council meeting.

“I wouldn’t want to take the liberty of going into great details without having the benefit of the executive council’s approval policy-wise. That would be improper. But we certainly should give.”

He said he learnt from an elderly citizen that Grenada had provided food for Tobago after Hurricane Flora struck in 1963. Augustine said boats came to Bloody Bay with roasted breadfruit.“Tobagonians felt a sense of gratitude and they came forward. So it is time to give back to them.”

He urged Tobagonians to give generously when the arrangement is finalised.