A total of 50 Defence Force officers from this country are currently on the ground in St Vincent and the Grenadines providing aid for the country’s citizens as they continue to deal with the affects from the La Soufrière volcano eruption.
Members from the T&T Regiment, Coast Guard, Air Guard and Reserves will stay on the island for approximately two weeks in the first instance.
But according to the Minister of National Security Stuart Young, “things are fluid and can change when they are on the ground.”
The contingent left on the Galleon’s Passage just after 7 am yesterday and will be accompanied by a Coast Guard vessel to be used as a forward operating base for the members.
“To ensure that we don’t become any more of a burden on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, operate well from it,” Young said.
Also on board were representatives from the T&T Red Cross Society, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and members of the media.
Young thanked the delegation for rising to the occasion and entering a country with an active volcano all in the middle of a pandemic.
“Pleases be safe, continue to exercise your protocols as best as you can,” he said.
He also reminded the contingent that they were representing this country. “Do not disappoint us,” he warned. “Continue to do what you’re trained to do,” he added.
According to the minister, by tomorrow another vessel with humanitarian supplies will sail to the island and based on feedback from St Vincent’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Vincentians needed water, as ash fall contaminated thier supply.
Young said T&T citizens have donated a significant amount of water and they were working on supplying more.
“We are currently trying to arrange some marine vessels, water tankers to take water up to St Vincent,” he said.
On the Galleon’s Passage , there were three filled water tanks, buckets and cases of bottled water.
Other relief items such as mattresses, food, cleaning, simple medical and hygiene supplies and toiletries were on board.
Today, the vessel will bring back 40 T&T nationals who will be immediately quarantined on arrival.
Young told the troops to be safe and that they will continue to be supported from here at home.