Vincentian storm relief efforts continue

Deputy New York Consul General and deputy chair of the Relief Steering Committee, Edson Augustus, addressing volunteers, flanked by committee members.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Still very disheartened by the freak Christmas Eve storm that left nine people dead and an estimated EC $150 million in damages, Vincentian nationals in the United States continue to work feverishly in sending relief supplies home.

“I cannot find words to express my feelings about the Diaspora – not only in New York but outside New York,” Edson Augustus, Deputy St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ New York Consul General, who is also deputy chairman of the Brooklyn-based Vincentian Relief Steering Committee, told Caribbean Life.

“They (nationals) gave sacrificially – not only of their time but also of the items requested,” he added. “We worked as a family.”

As relief operations on Sunday wound down at the center, which served as the chief operating venue, Augustus urged the community to bring supplies to Standard Shippers, 3116 Clarendon Rd., Brooklyn, for shipment home.

He said items needed include pots and pans, bed sheets, curtains, mops, buckets, soap, deodorant, furniture and medical supplies.

Augustus said the first shipment of relief supplies, transported free of cost by Amerijet, arrived at E.T. Joshua airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Jan. 2.

That shipment of 77 barrels comprised, among other things, food items, clothes, medicine, water and toiletries.

Augustus said another shipment – a 40 ft. container – of the foregoing items, plus tools and shoes, was expected to arrive home later this week.

He also disclosed that St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, VA, has donated four, 400-lb pallets of medicine.

Douglas Howard, the newly-elected president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Progressive Organization of New York (SPOONY), an arm of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), told Caribbean Life that his group on Sunday donated 10 barrels, a large box and a pallet of relief supplies to its homeland.

He said the pallet of canned milk and Milo was given, by a distribution outlet in the East New York section of Brooklyn, through the efforts of Allyson Seales, a member of the Relief Steering Committee.

UN Ambassador, I. Rhonda King, also commended the New York Diaspora in particular for “their response and the way in which they have stepped up to the plate.

“This is what nation-building is all about – working together,” she told Caribbean Life. “This is what the prime minister had asked us to do in his Independence message (last October). “New York is certainly acceding to that call.”

Meantime, the Brooklyn-based Vincentian American Adventist Association (VAAA), in collaboration with the New York Consulate General, next Saturday, Jan. 18, at 6:00 p.m., will stage a gospel concert to aid relief efforts.

The event, which takes place at the Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton St., in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, features leading Vincentian and Caribbean gospel artistes, including Trinidadians Wayne and Devon Johnson, Pastor Wendy Mitchell and Vincentians Theophilus Homer and Evangelist Ellsworth “Lifeboy” Quammie.

Popular, award-winning gospel artiste, Bridget Blucher, will be unable to perform since she will be at home at the time.

“We are our brother’s keeper,” said Beverly Regisford-Henry, the VAAA’s president and event coordinator, quoting a popular biblical verse and repeating the theme of the concert. “Come and support a worthy cause.”

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