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CARIBBEAN | Cayman Islands Premier concerned about security measures on BVI

Cayman islands Premier Alden McLaughlin Cayman islands Premier Alden McLaughlin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 11, CMC – Cayman islands Premier Alden McLaughlin says until security issues in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are resolved it will be “very difficult” to carry out any humanitarian missions to that British Overseas Territory (BOT).

McLaughlin, who participated in a  video conference with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders getting “an assessment of the situation in the islands” affected by the passage of Hurricane Irma last week, said his island is being used by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in coordinating the relief effort to the BOT in the Caribbean.

He said that Cayman Airways flew an armed police unit to Barbados where they will be picked up by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and taken to the BVI.

Irma damage 02McLaughlin said that there were “massive security issues” on the BVI with “looting and robbing” and “all prisoners on the loose”.

“Bermuda is sending officers too. In addition, there are 100 UK marines and 55 UK police officers also underway to BVI. We are looking to fly into Anguilla on Tuesday with medical supplies and personnel.

Until the security issues in BVI are resolved it will be very difficult to carry out any humanitarian missions to that Island,’ McLaughlin said.

Meanwhile, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanent said there there has been a request for the island to accept three prisoners from the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).

“We are working with the British authorities to accommodate that request,” he told a news conference  Monday and that discussions are taking place with London as certain protocols will have to be established to facilitate the TCI prisoner transfer.

“We did do an audit of Bordelais (Correctional Facility) and they indicated that they could have the capacity to hold fifty people, and that obviously we would need to know the circumstances under which those prisoners were arrested to determine the level of security we would have to have,” Chastanet said.

He said the government is not seeking to compromise the security situation in St. Lucia adding “I think all St. Lucians, and the ones that I know, recognise that we all need to help each other”.

He said he wanted the British, the Americans, the Canadians, the Dutch and the French who have traditionally come to the aid of Saint Lucia, to know that assistance is not a one way street.

Jamaica’s tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said he has called on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) to assist Caribbean countries affected by the storm.

Bartlett, who is UNWTO chairman, said that aid will most likely come from the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty Initiative (ST-EP) Foundation, which promotes poverty alleviation through the provision of assistance to sustainable development projects in developing countries.

“We are all a part of the regional tourism family, so it is important that we are willing to help each other in times of need. This week I will be in Chengdu, China, along with over a thousand tourism officials from around the world, for the 22nd Session of the UNWTO General Assembly and I plan to use the opportunity to appeal to my colleague Affiliate Members for further assistance to affected countries,” Bartlett said.

“Many of the islands devastated by the hurricane are heavily dependent on tourism. It is important that we assist in any way possible to help them to rebuild the sector,” he added.

Suriname Monday also announced it is providing assistance to Antigua and Barbuda.

“Even in times when we have our own hardship Surinamers will help each other our people elsewhere on earth. We are a people who love to help”, said Lieutenant-Colonel Jerry Slijngard, manager of the National Center for Disaster Management (NCCR).

The Surinamese government chartered a Boeing-aircraft from national carrier Surinam Airways to transport the 10 ton cargo to Antigua.

“As a good neighbour, we have made the best choice as a country, to assist those who are affected the most by Hurricane Irma. It is important that we decide in a timely manner how to execute relief efforts to assist the CARICOM countries”, Acting President Ashwin Adhin told the National Information Institute.