By Demion McTair. Updated 8:25 p.m., Monday, April 26, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit says his country is ready to welcome Vincentians displaced by the La Soufriere volcanic eruptions.
On the program One on One with the PM – Annou Pale, aired on Sunday, April 25, in Dominica, Prime Minister Skerrit said “Dominica stands in absolute solidarity with the people of our sister island”.
“We have offered a safe haven here in Dominica for Vincentian nationals wishing to evacuate and would provide support in other tangible ways,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
Mr. Skerrit said that Dominica’s government would enroll displaced evacuee students from St. Vincent, into schools in Dominica and would provide them with books, uniforms, and other supplies.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who joined the program virtually, thanked Prime Minister Skerrit and the people of Dominica for their generosity and solidarity.
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, said that about 51 Vincentians have so far registered their interest with St. Vincent’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to temporarily settle in Dominica.
He said that though the majority of Vincentians want to stay to rebuild the country, there are those, who for one reason or the other, want to temporarily leave.
He said that COVID-19 testing would have to be done for the evacuees.
Both Dr. Gonsalves and Mr. Skerrit said that as soon as details are finalized with the foreign ministries of both countries, the travel of evacuees will be facilitated.
Both CARICOM countries have enjoyed quality relations over the years.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria which devastated Dominica in 2017, St. Vincent and the Grenadines provided, among other things, a safe haven for then displaced Dominicans, who wanted to temporarily leave.
Since the 2021 volcanic disaster in St. Vincent, Dominica has so far provided money, water, food items, and other necessities to St. Vincent.
More than 12,000 people have been displaced by the volcanic eruptions, so far, in St. Vincent.