St. Lucia Government expresses sympathy and solidarity with the people of Haiti following earthquake

ST. LUCIA – The Government of Saint Lucia is saddened at the news that the sister CARICOM state of Haiti was hit yesterday, January, 12, 2010, by a major 7.0 earthquake. By all indications the earthquake, which was the largest to hit that region in over 200 years has brought about major devastation of infrastructure and possible widespread loss of human life.

Even ahead of a full assessment of damage and actually needs following this disaster, the Government of Saint Lucia is committing to providing relief assistance to Haiti under the umbrella of a CARICOM response. Government is aware that there are currently emergency talks underway between the Secretary General of CARICOM and the Chairman Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt on the situation in Haiti. Based on these discussions a decision has already been taken to send a team to Haiti to assess the situation on the ground and produce a response to the Secretariat.

The Government will be issuing a further statement soon to address the matter of public response to the disaster and mechanisms for coordination. The specifics of Saint Lucia’s response within the context of CARICOM will also be spelt out soon following the receipt of the assessment report by CARICOM.

The disaster in Haiti brings into focus the glaring need for the establishment of an emergency/disaster fund for the Caribbean region.

Government expects that the Trinidad & Tobago Petroleum Fund will be mobilized along with input from the wider CARICOM for a consolidated regional response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti. The Government of Saint Lucia will undertake to advocate within regional forums like CARICOM for the establishment of some kind of regional disaster fund to allow for a direct and immediate response to disasters within the Caribbean region.

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