St. Kitts-Nevis pledged more than $4.5M in relief aid to neighbouring islands in past two years
By Valencia Grant, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris announced Sept. 23 during a national address on television and radio that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis will give a total of $2.5 million in hurricane relief aid to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and St. Maarten.
This gift is being given in addition to in-kind support and services, which are already being offered by St. Kitts and Nevis, such as the use of the RLB International Airport as a staging platform for relief efforts into impacted countries, health and hospital services, free high school enrollment for students registered for upcoming CXC exams, technical support for electricity restoration, and Coast Guard transportation support.
In his national address, Harris thanked Dominica’s prime minister for “his kind consideration” in making a pledge of $500,000 toward St. Kitts and Nevis’ post-Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. The Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit had announced this pledge when he visited the federation on Sept. 10h as part of an OECS delegation to assess damages and show solidarity in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The federation of St. Kitts and Nevis sustained estimated damages of $53.2 million from the powerful Category 5 Hurricane Irma, which passed through here three weeks ago.
Harris went on to note in his national address that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis had since declined Skerrit’s pledged donation and will give $1 million to Dominica to assist with its recovery efforts in the wake of the catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Maria, which made landfall there Sept. 18. A total preliminary assessment of $88.5 million has been attributed to damages sustained in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as a result of Hurricane Maria.
Prime Minister Harris further stated on Saturday night that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis had also pledged post-Hurricane Irma relief aid to Anguilla ($400,000), Antigua and Barbuda ($400,000), the British Virgin Islands ($500,000) and St. Maarten ($200,000).
The hurricane aid package for the islands totalling $2.5 million dollars, which cabinet approved last Friday, is just the latest example of Prime Minister Harris’ Team Unity administration’s “generosity and compassion toward our fellow neighbours.”
The Team Unity government paid out $1 million to Dominica on Sept. 15, 2015, after Tropical Storm Erika caused floods and mudslides on the island of 72,000 people in late August 2015. Then, the government paid out US$100,000 to the Bahamas and US$300,000 to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew made landfall there in October 2016.