Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet has announced emergency relief to benefit the agriculture sector, help clean-up and restore the road network and provide support to individual households impacted by the passage of Hurricane Elsa.
The Prime Minister was joined by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Honourable Ezechiel Joseph and Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment, Honourable Lenard Montoute at a press briefing on Friday 9th July 2021 at the Finance Administrative Building to announce that EC$10 Million had been approved from the National Economic Fund in order to provide the emergency relief. The Economic Fund is specifically for monies from Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme and is managed by a Board of Directors.
Saint Lucia was impacted by Hurricane Elsa on Friday July 2nd and recorded one death, whilst many homes and some public buildings were damaged with reports of some homes being completely destroyed. Preliminary reports are that the Agricultural Sector suffered serious losses with the banana industry being 85 percent affected with other sub-sectors of agriculture also requiring immediate emergency assistance to replant and rehabilitate. It was estimated that over 500 homes and some commercial properties were damaged, particularly roof damage.
Less than a week after the Government of Saint Lucia held a press conference to update the public on the damage assessment and recognizing the need for emergency relief to help the hardest hit sectors and to cushion the economic and social impact of the affected sectors the relief package has been announced.
“The Government had been working to reallocate existing funds within the budget but we also applied to the Economic Fund for emergency assistance,” explained the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister explained that the EC$10Million from the Economic Fund will be distributed as follows: EC$5 million will go to the agriculture sector, EC$3 Million to the Ministry of Equity to support households, EC$1 million to repair the damage to the CDC buildings and EC$1 million towards the clearing and repair of roadways and infrastructure.
“Today is a good day in that we can assure Saint Lucians that resources are being made available,” stated Prime Minister Chastanet, adding that disbursements will begin by next week, through the various line ministries. Work has already began on repairs to the CDC and infrastructure. Information about the support being offered can be accessed through the Ministries responsible.
Prime Minister Chastanet thanked the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), all the ministries that moved quickly to prepare damaged assessments and the Finance Ministry for the support.