By Demion McTair. Updated 5:30 a.m., Friday, April 23, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent: Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he is appealing to people in the diaspora to send money instead of packages to their families in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) at this time.
Speaking on Radio on Thursday, Dr. Gonsalves cited the strain on the Customs Department and the Port to sort through many containers with small items at this time.
Many individuals and organizations in the diaspora have been opting to send supplies to their families in SVG, especially those displaced by ongoing volcanic eruptions.
Other people have also been sending supplies as the government announced a waiver, until June 30, on the duty on barrels and boxes, mainly with food items and toiletries.
Heightened activities at the port due to humanitarian relief coming from friendly governments, organizations, and individuals, have caused congestion.
The prime minister says that once money is sent to families, they can purchase the food items here in St. Vincent.
The prime minister said money transfer services are being decentralized to make money collection easier for people in St. Vincent.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gonsalves also cautioned people against sending packages to the National Emergency Management Organization – NEMO, saying that the State-run entity does not have the capacity to clear and handle such packages.
He also sought to dispel, as a falsehood, the position held by some on social media that all relief supplies coming into the country must come through NEMO.