Hurricane Katrina: Four CARICOM states offer assistance
Four member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have offered assistance to the hurricane-ravaged US states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The offers came from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Guyana, and Jamaica - three of which were affected by natural disasters in the last 10 months.
Jamaica has also reported that the nearly 350 Jamaican hotel workers, who are employed at two properties in the city of Biloxi, and one in Gulfport, are reportedly safe in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They have been relocated to shelters. Barbados reported that it was seeking to evacuate its hotel workers from the affected states.
The US State Department has advised Caribbean residents seeking to contact friends and relatives in the affected areas to first trying using cell phone or landlines, and if these methods are unsuccessful they should place inquiries through their Washington, DC diplomatic missions.
Sources: CaribbeanNetNews http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/
Hurricane Katrina: Lessons for the Caribbean
Officials from the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency - CDERA - are monitoring how the United States is are coping with the massive disaster left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
CDERA Coordinator, Jeremy Collymore, told BBC Caribbean that there a number of lessons the Caribbean can benefit from.
"The first one relates to early warning, we’ve noted that many of the people did not heed the warning to evacuate and therefore they increased the probability of the impacted population", he said.
However, he conceded that many of the poorer residents in the areas hit did not have their own means of transportation.
"If you are going to ask people to evacuate, you must have in place the infrastructure for evacuation. That is the routes out, the flow of the persons, and the support for those who cannot move on their own."
Collymore said investing upfront to ensure vulnerability-reduction is preferable to having to end up paying a higher investment to rebuild and reconstruct after a disaster, and hoped that Caribbean governments will take note.
St. Kitts sugar industry closes down
On 22 July, two locomotives brought the last canes for processing at the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation (SSMC) factory, and so signaled the closing of the island’s 300-year old sugar industry.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union and the management of the SSMC have reached an agreement on the redundancy of the remaining 1,500 sugar workers, but full details have not yet been revealed.
A late July session of the National Assembly debated a resolution to officially close the sugar industry in island.
According to the local press, the resolution encouraged financial institutions to create special financial packages for sugar workers interested in farming, fishing and small business, and introduced duty-free concessions on the importation of farming tools, equipment, and inputs for farming and small business related to farming which would be established by sugar workers.
The resolution also proposed that the equipment owned by the sugar industry become part of the protected heritage of the island, making it an offense to remove it without authorization from the government.
Source: The International Union of Foodworkers (IUF/UITA) http://www.iuf.org/
This Caribbean review is realised by Charles Arthur and provided to you in a partnership between Haiti Support Group and AlterPresse