Yvonne Webb and Alana Boodoo-Suraj
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‘I’ll name village after Kamla’
It’s going to be a long road to recovery for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says. But Gonsalves is hoping Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will again help him to assist his compatriots on their road to recovery. He made the comment on Saturday during a tour of several areas in his South Windward constituency, after burying his second cousin Raymond Gonsalves, who was one of the people killed in the flooding disaster.
Standing in front of the badly damaged home of his cousin, Gonsalves said nine people had been confirmed dead while three remained missing following the disaster cause by the Christmas Eve rain storm. “Its now nearly two weeks so we have to presume them dead,” he said of those people who had still not been found. Gonsalves said his government had to relocate at least 350 houses, which he estimates will cost at least $100 million.
The country suffered major damage following disastrous rainfall on Christmas Eve which was caused by a trough. At least 250 people remain in shelters having lost all their valuables in the flooding. Gonsalves said he would consider naming a village after Persad-Bissessar if she helps him relocate some of the affected people. He said he had already passed this information on to the T&T PM’s personal representative. “I would like to see the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago help us,” he said.
“If they help us in relocating a certain number of people, I see no problem in calling it Kamla Village in appreciation.” There is already a village called Manning Village in St Vincent, after former T&T prime minister Patrick Manning helped to relocate people there in 2010 after Hurricane Ivan hit the island. Gonsalves said the country was still in need of a lot of items, ranging from clothes to building materials, in the wake of the latest disaster.
The St Vincent prime minister said a total recovery would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. “It will be probably in excess of 150 million US dollars, so what you are talking about is over four hundred EC, almost a billion TT dollars,” he said.
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