(Office of the Prime Minister’s Press Unit)
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Much-needed humanitarian assistance is being provided to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) by 24 youths with the St. Kitts and Nevis Comprehensive Disaster Management Youth Ambassadors (CDM) group. On July 29, CDM members boarded the Coast Guard Vessel MV Stalwart on their way to the BVI, where they will help with restoration efforts still underway due to last year’s devastating Hurricane Irma.
Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, smashed into the British Virgin Islands in September 2017, leaving a trail of death and devastation. Thousands of residents were displaced thousands of people and thousands left without electricity or water.
The CDM Youth Ambassadors group was founded in November 2017 by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the full endorsement of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). The organization directly engages young people in disaster management activities over the short-to long-term period.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, was among those present at the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force Coast Guard Base on Sunday afternoon to wish the youth ambassadors a safe and productive trip.
“This group was formed subsequent to our experience with the hurricane,” Dr. Harris said. “We appreciate, and the leadership of NEMA because with youth comes new vision, new energy [and] new resource that could be put to good use and today you are demonstrating this.
“You are brave enough to say: ‘I will go,’ ‘I can make a difference to the BVI,’ and ‘we are one Caribbean people and whatever we can do for each other redounds to the benefit of all of us,” Prime Minister Harris told the 24 CDM Youth Ambassadors before they departed.
Dr. Harris noted this humanitarian initiative complements aid packages St. Kitts and Nevis made available to the BVI and other neighbouring countries in the wake of the September 2017 hurricanes.
National Disaster Coordinator, Mr. Abdias Samuel, said St. Kitts and Nevis Youth Ambassadors will provide invaluable technical and manual assistance to the BVI’s restoration efforts.
“We have some ambassadors who are technically inclined, “Samuel explained. “They will in helping to computer systems. Another group will help paint buildings, including the disaster management building. Other members will plant flowers and trees. They will encourage BVI youth to engage in similar activities to promote comprehensive disaster management.”