by Sampson Nanton
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced that Trinidad and Tobago will assist the Bahamas with soldiers, electricity workers and US$500,000.
The prime minister made the announcement at Thursday’s post-Cabinet news conference.
Parts of the Bahamas have been decimated by Hurricane Dorian which hit the islands as a powerful Category 5 hurricane, resulting in at least 20 deaths.
Dr Rowley told the media that he has been in touch with the prime minister of the Bahamas, Dr Hurbert Minnis and that they have discussed what Trinidad and Tobago could do for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) country.
He said 100 members of the Defence Force are now preparing to go to the Bahamas to assist in law and order.
With large swaths of the country without electricity, seven technical personnel of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) are also being sent to the Bahamas.
The prime minister said that the number will be increased once needed.
While noting that the Bahamas is receiving “considerable assistance from US and Canada”, he said Trinidad and Tobago will also provide monetary assistance to the tune of US$500,000 to assist in paying for some expenses, including medical supplies.
Two CARICOM leaders touched down in the Bahamas Thursday morning to hold talks about relief efforts.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and St Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet arrived at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau shortly before 9 am.
According to Mottley’s Facebook page, they were greeted by several Bahamian government ministers, including Minister of Tourism Dionsio D’Aguliar, Minister of Education Jeffery Lloyd and Minister of Transport Renwood Wills among other dignitaries.
Both prime ministers were accompanied by CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin La Roque and were later whisked away for a closed-door meeting with Minnis at the National Emergency Management Administration (NEMA) office.
The first large relief ship arrived in the northwest Bahamas on Thursday morning, with tugboats ferrying pallets of water bottles, boxes of cereal and 10,000 hot and cold meals from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to battered Freeport.
But with the grim toll still mounting, it was clear a lot more help will be needed for the once lush Grand Bahama and the neighbouring Abaco Islands.
Featured Photo: AL Diaz / Miami Herald via AP