In the wake of Hurricane Maria which devastated the nature isle of Dominica on Monday night, Roman Catholic Bishop of Barbados Jason Gordon says he is pleased to see how the region has come together in the face of adversity.
Addressing a meeting of the Dominica Association of Barbados at Our Lady Queen of the Universe Cultural Centre, Black Rock, St Michael this evening, the religious leader also called for the show of unity to be sustained.
“What this is going to call for is moving from the isolation we have as individuals and as nation states to understanding ourselves in this precarious Caribbean that we now live in, where the forces of nature have done things in the last three to five years, that we have not seen before.
“This is a time where we understand that this is about solidarity. We have to hold together as a Caribbean people and that means we have to hold tight and firm right across the board,” Gordon stressed.
With Dominica currently reeling from the devastating impact of Maria and other Caribbean islands, including Barbuda, Anguilla, Saint Martin and the British Virgin Islands still struggling to pick up the pieces from Irma, which struck the region two weeks ago, the Bishop said this was a critical test of the region’s resolve.
“Resilience builds character. That character will build hope and hope will never disappoint us,” he said, adding that “hardships do not end civilization.
“We become more resilient. The hardships we have faced have created resilience and perseverance from our ancestors,” he added.
Gordon said the Church was doing its part in terms of offering relief to the victims.
“The first thing we did after the first hurricane [Irma] was to petition the IMF [the International Monetary Fund] for a moratorium on all debt for these nations.
“We asked the US bishops and they have sent a letter with our letter to the IMF so we could stop the debt crisis in those countries.
“We did that immediately after Irma. We have [also] been picking up stuff and collections across all islands, because you are going to need money to rebuild as well. We will send them down as soon as containers can go,” he added.
Yesterday, the President of the Dominica Association of Barbados Mona St Louis expressed frustration in an interview with Barbados TODAY that two days after Maria dealt a deadly and devastating blow to the island, members of the association were desperately hoping for any credible word on the fate of their loved ones back home.
However, during tonight’s meeting, it appeared as though the prayers of some had been answered, with members reporting that they had finally made contact with their relatives back home.
However, strong concern was expressed by some that relief was not getting to victims in the south east of Dominica.
Natalia Perch, who has two brothers and one sister living in that area, said her primary concern was for her relatives in the communities of Morne Jaune, Riviere Cyrique, LaPlaine, Delices and Grand Fond.
“Right now my problem is [that] there is aid getting to Dominica, but none is getting to my part of Dominica. That is my main issue right now. All the roads are blocked, the bridges are broken. So we have people in Guadeloupe looking for helicopters,” she said.
“We have mobilized a group from the south east, almost 500 of us are apart of that group, and we were trying to get a helicopter . . . . to go drop off supplies.
“We have people in New Jersey, New York all over the world from that part of the island who have pledged to help out,” Perch explained.