Caribbean diplomats organize relief efforts

Caribbean diplomats organize relief efforts
Volunteers sort and pack barrels of supplies for the Caribbean.
Photo by Nelson A. King

St. Vincent and the Grenadines New York Consul General Howie Prince has described as “commendable” and “encouraging” combined efforts to date by the New York Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Consular Corps and the Brooklyn-based Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO) in gathering relief supplies for Caribbean countries ravaged by recent hurricanes.

Prince, who spearheaded the initiative, told Caribbean Life that, for the past three weeks, several members of the corps – such as Dominica, Guyana, Barbados and Belize – have collaborated with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines New York Consulate General, COSAGO and several Vincentian groups in New York, as well as individuals, in “mobilizing” the emergency supplies at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Centers in Brooklyn.

He said in the three weeks volunteers from several Caribbean countries “received, sorted and packed” the donated items.

As of Monday, Prince said the groups have received 23 commercial bins (equivalent to 69 barrels) of supplies, 22 jumbo barrels and 205 cases of water.

He also said the organizations have collected US$1,500 in cash and US$1,558 from the sale of liquid refreshments.

In addition, the Vincentian diplomat said the Dominica Consulate General in New York had organized its own relief drive, “which was incredibly successful.” Dominica and Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua, were particularly ravaged by Hurricane Maria and Irma, respectively.

Prince said the CARICOM Consular Corps is also coordinating relief drives in other United States cities and plans to host a grand concert, featuring “the best of the region’s artistes,” to continue the relief efforts.

“We are extremely grateful to all who made donations, as well as those who volunteered during the past three weeks,” he said.

COSAGO president, Laverne McDowald-Thompson, said: “Humanitarianism was at its best during the relief drives.

“The outpouring of support from the people in the Diaspora showed an overwhelming feeling of love, care and compassion,” she said. “It warmed my heart coming together for three Sundays doing the relief drive.”

McDowald-Thompson thanked all for volunteering, particularly singling out Vincentian native Garnes Byron for “going far and beyond.”

She said all countries devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria will be the beneficiaries of the collected items, including food supplies, adult and baby diapers, other baby supplies, toiletries and water.

More from Around NYC