See below for a statement from the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on the Emergency Humanitarian Relief to St. Vincent:
The CARICOM nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) was hurled into an emergency-state on April 09 when the La Soufrière volcano, which is located on the northern region of the main island, erupted for the first time in over four (4) decades – displacing thousands of residents and destroying farms and livestock. Since December 2020, effusive eruptions were detected, which prompted close monitoring by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWI-SRC). Imminent explosive eruption was reported and on April 08, causing Prime Minister, Dr. The Honorable Ralph Gonsalves, together with the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) to declare a “RED ALERT” and issue an evacuation order from the most high-risk regions of the island.
In an effort to commission immediate aid to the sister CARICOM nation, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), in collaboration with the Private Sector Commission (PSC), and the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) held an emergency meeting on April 09 with NEMO and the SVG Chamber of Commerce (CoC) to discuss ways in which Guyana’s private sector could contribute in providing humanitarian relief supplies.
Emphasizing the need to assist during this devastating crisis, subsequent to the meeting, President of the GMSA, Mr. Rafeek Khan, apprised the association of the action-plan and encouraged members to use all avenues implemented, to donate either cash or critical supplies which were identified by NEMO. According to Mr. Khan, donations started off at a slow pace, however, as the weekend progressed, members rapidly increased pledges of cash and supplies. By April 16, an approximated cumulative total to the value of GYD 20,000,000 (cash and supplies) was contributed by the membership.
As at this time, the CDC loaded the first shipment of supplies on the Miss Meena vessel, which was docked at the Muneshwers Port Facility, Georgetown. With the capacity to hold approximately 350 tons, the shipment departed Georgetown on April 14, with items including non-perishable food, personal protective equipment, cleaning materials, personal hygiene products, water and other critical supplies. The vessel is expected to arrive in SVG on April 16, and a second shipment consisting of water was scheduled to sail on April 15.
His Excellency, Dr Irfaan Ali, who has been working closely with the mobilization efforts highlighted on April 12 that the Government of Guyana (GoG) is gearing towards continuous support with Prime Minister, Brigadier Mark Phillips spearheading the process. H.E. Dr. Ali mentioned that the challenge in delivering relief has been logistics, but since the undertaking to lend support was announced, the local private sector has played an instrumental role in mobilizing their contribution expeditiously.
With a third vessel scheduled to sail on April 17, Mr. Khan continues to call on GMSA members to donate and pledge support to the relief-efforts as he cited NEMO’s official release on April 15 which stated that “Explosion and accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, could restart in the future. Alert levels remain RED”.
Further, on behalf of the GMSA, Mr. Khan extends gratitude to all members who responded to the emergency-assistance call and recognizes the following local businesses for their unprecedented support and dedication during this time:
- ActionINVEST Caribbean Inc.
- Amazon Caribbean Inc.
- Banks DIH Limited
- Brass Aluminum Cast Iron Foundry
- Bulkan Timber Works Inc.
- Doodnauth and Trading
- Demerara Distillers Limited
- Denmor Garment Manufacturers
- Durable Wood Products Inc.
- Edward B. Beharry Group of Companies
- Excel Logistics and Management Services
- Fibre Tech Industrial Plastics
- Floor It Guyana
- Gafsons Industries Limited
- Ganshyam Mahase & Mahase Lumber Supplier
- Guyana National Industrial Company Incorporated
- Naked Skin Soaps
- Nand Persaud & Company Limited
- O Squared Consulting
- Peter P Imports & Exports
- Saj Rice Group
- Silvies Variety Store
- Social Rank Media
- Sterling Products Limited
- Superior Woods
- Toolsie Persaud Limited
- Tropical Shipping Agents Laparkan Trading
- Twins Manufacturing Chemist
- Variety Woods and Greenheart Limited
GMSA also extends the opportunity to be part of the humanitarian relief efforts to non-members. For the most updated list of critical relief items, please contact the GMSA Secretariat at 223-7405 or 223-7406 or [email protected].