CARICOM HEADS GIVE TOP PRIORITY FOR GRENADA RELIEF
Government Information Service, Port of Spain, September 16, 2004. The almost total destruction of Grenada took priority at an Emergency Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). This was held at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad on Wednesday September 15, 2004.
The Meeting was called to discuss Caricom's response to the damaging effects of the last three hurricanes to pass through the Caribbean region. The last of these, Hurricane Ivan, did the most serious damage. Ivan caused over 60 deaths and billions of dollars in damage. The islands affected by Ivan were Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and the Bahamas.
At a press conference after the Meeting, it was established that Grenada was most seriously affected and therefore should receive the most aid.
Damage to Grenada was estimated at about 15 billion EC Dollars in addition to 30 deaths. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines said that the monetary figure represented 15 times Grenada’s Annual Gross Domestic Product.
Representative for Grenada (special advisor to the Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell) Mr. Richardson Andrews said Hurricane Ivan wiped out the country’s economy and significant assistance was needed for recovery.
The preliminary conclusions of the Emergency Meeting follow:
EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OFGOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
15 September 2004
Establish a pool of budgetary resources to assist Grenada in meeting its financial obligations for the next three months. A special meeting may be needed to look at the possibility.
Re-apportion Grenada’s contribution to regional organisations to other Member States.
Design a plan to relocate Grenadian Advanced and CXC level students to other Member States (CCS to execute collaboration with Grenada).
Need for 'Caricom – Grenada Unit' to plan the reconstruction of Grenada, in addition to responding to the emergency situation.
Agreed to approach the international community for assistance for Grenada and to pool CARICOM guarantees to float a bond issue through the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank).
Called for an international donor conference as the resources required for the reconstruction of Grenada are beyond the means of Member States. Heads of Government and Ministers to contact international institutions and Foreign Governments in preparation for this.
The Prime Ministers of Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Lucia will liase with Prime Minister Mitchell and his Government, as well as the opposition on a number of concerns.
Agreed to support a call for a moratorium on Grenada’s debt repayments.
- Recommended that financial assistance to Grenada should be in the nature of grants and aid and not loans.
- CARICOM Member States will participate in efforts to provide security to Grenada.
- Mandated an early meeting of Security Chiefs to address security issues in Grenada, including clear lines of military and security command. A Cooperation Agreement should be elaborated between the RSS (Regional Security System) and non-RSS States with respect to coordinating security in Grenada.
- Agreed that Public Health issues including, sanitation, water quality, waste disposal need to be addressed, in the context of ensuring the adequacy of shelters and in post disaster relief efforts.
- Mandated the next Meeting of the COFAP (Committee on Finance and Planning) to discuss with Insurance Industry leaders issues relating to the underwriting of catastrophic risk and universal coverage so that these can be put on a sustainable basis.
- Agreed to approach the World Bank to undertake a feasibility study on the provision of insurance coverage for public infrastructure in CARICOM Member States.
- Urged the CDB to have an emergency session of its Board of Directors to consider appropriate flexible arrangements to assist Grenada in its hour of need.
- Mandated officials to prepare a technical document in order to implement the above decisions.