PRESS RELEASE – THE Cabinet of Ministers in Saint Lucia met on Tuesday morning to discuss the preliminary situation in Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria on Monday and Saint Lucia’s immediate response to provide relief.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, Lenard Montoute, explained that plans were already underway to make Saint Lucia an operational base for the relief effort to Dominica.
Montoute called for prayers for the Nature Isle in their time of need while stating the situation was critical.
“Right now, our thoughts are with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and the people of Dominica,” Montoute said. “Preliminary information is that we have widespread devastation in Dominica. From our understanding, they are facing a very critical situation and our prayers are with them, as our sister and neighbour. We have to respond and do what we can to assist our brothers and sisters in Dominica.”
Montoute added that communication has been made with the French and Venezuelan authorities in terms of assistance.
“Saint Lucia will be used as the base for relief efforts into Dominica because, as you can well appreciate, the airports are not operational; neither are the sea ports,” he said. “Reconnaissance flights will have to be made to ascertain the actual situation on the ground and for immediate preparation to be made for the landing of helicopters and other aircrafts.
“We are looking at what assistance we can give immediately and that may entail medical assistance and sending medical personnel and people with expertise in search and rescue. We are hoping that by Tuesday evening an assessment of the situation would have been made and we can get a better appreciation of the kind of assistance that is immediately required.”
With Saint Lucia being used as an operational base for the humanitarian effort, Government has agreed in conjunction with the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Port Authority (SLASPA) to waive fees and facilitate the use of warehouse facilities for receipt and distribution.
Saint Lucia is coordinating with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission on the response efforts. Persons willing to provide assistance are asked to contact the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) at (758) 452-3802 or email: [email protected].