Photo: Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris
Understanding the dire situation of its fellow OECS and CARICOM member island, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis announced over the weekend a comprehensive support package for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the wake of the devastating volcanic eruptions there that have displaced thousands.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ support included, inter alia, the financial contribution of EC$1 million for evacuation and relief efforts – a decision that Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris says his Team Unity administration stands by.
“Some here have asked why in our own time of difficulty and challenge brought on by COVID-19 and when some of our own people are experiencing hardships, we are giving resources to others? We are to be reminded by the good book to do unto others as we would have done unto us. What would it say of us in St. Kitts and Nevis if we aren’t willing to give a starving man some or all of our meal, because we don’t want to be hungry for a day? The real test of love, fellowship and giving is not in the parting with the excess, but with parting with what is needed, for the sake of one’s fellow man,” Prime Minister Harris expressed.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Government has also consented for the immediate release to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) the sum of US $20,000 towards its Special Emergency Assistance Fund in order to bring further relief to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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The honourable prime minister said, “It is important for us to be there for our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which is a member of the OECS and of CARICOM. I know that we would want them to be there for us, if and when our time of trial comes.”
However, Prime Minister Harris stated that St. Kitts and Nevis’ substantial support goes beyond being a good Samaritan and a caring neighbour. He noted that as a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), St. Vincent and the Grenadines operates within the same financial space as St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Apart from moral duty, our Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) needs fully functioning economies for its financial stability. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an important member of the currency union. Its challenges represent a further setback to its recovery and that of the sub-region as a whole. Unless we are prepared to be our brother’s keeper, the international community will not take us seriously and will be less likely to help when we are not willing to help our kith and kin,” Dr. Harris explained.
Prime Minister Harris reminded citizens and residents and the thousands who tuned in via radio, television and social media that the situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a regional issue and stated that “as a region we have a duty to stand with our brothers and sisters and provide them with support at a time of vulnerability and need.”