Trinidad’s flood donation put on hold; PM Phillips says Guyana has a “list” of specific needs

Well placed sources in Trinidad and Tobago are saying that the Guyana government has communicated that it no longer needs flood relief supplies from its CARICOM sister nation. But Guyana’s Prime Minister Mark Phillips said this is not the case.

Earlier this month, TT’s Prime Minister  Dr Keith Rowley through his office had announced that the country could be making the necessary arrangements to have relief items be sent to Guyana, “as a matter of urgency.”

This is after President Irfaan Ali had declared the country’s flooding a disaster and Guyana had requested assistance from CARICOM for various relief items.

On Wednesday, well-placed sources told this publication that needed relief items were “compiled” with the assistance of Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the private sector among other agencies. Contact was made with the Guyana government, the sources said, but the Trinidadian government was then informed that the relief items were no longer needed.

This afternoon, Prime Minster Phillips explained that Guyana has made specific requests for items, “What I am aware of, is that through the CDC we have prepared a list of required items, a list of needs as we speak and we have communicated that both internally in Guyana and externally.”

The Prime Minister said the list would serve as a guide for “anyone” who wants to send relief supplies to Guyana, “in terms of acceptance and refusal, I am not aware of that,” the Minister said.

When contacted, Head of the Civil Defence Commission Col Kester Craig said that he, too,  was unaware of any such development as he said the CDC has no direct communication with any government. He explained that the donation of relief items from CARICOM countries are facilitated through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, (CDEMA).

Just recently, Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry had criticised Prime Minister Rowley’s statement on the Guyana’s use of vaccines that have not yet been approved by the WHO.

Prime Minister Rowley in his response said he has never sought to disparage the vaccine programme in Guyana.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago announced that it  has dispatched relief supplies to Suriname following flooding in that country.

Relief items were transported on 22nd June, 2021 via a Caribbean Airlines aircraft leased by Suriname Airways, a statement from Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs reads. The relief items sent include garbage bags, baby food, face masks, long boots, mosquito nets, tarpaulin, cots and chargeable battery-operated lamps.

The country will send water, hand sanitizer and water tanks later in the week. These will be transported by sea.

“Trinidad and Tobago is pleased to assist a fellow member of CARICOM and reiterates its commitment to supporting the Government and People of Suriname during this challenging time,” the Ministry said.