The National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), the Environmental Management Unit within the Ministry of Economic Planning, and the Ministry of Transport and Works are among the Government Departments and Ministries that will benefit from the latest Japanese grant aid. The aid falls under the “Economic and Social Development Programme” for the provision of disaster reduction equipment, and was negotiated on April 14, 2016.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Regional Integration, Hon. Sir Louis Straker, hosted the Non-Resident Ambassador of Japan to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, H.E. Mitsuhiko Okada, on Monday, July 18, 2016, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room. Together, they signed the exchange of notes to seal the decision for Japan to provide aid in the form of disaster reduction equipment.
In his welcome address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel Williams, applauded Japan’s continued support towards the work of the United Nations and its continued interest in ensuring global peace and security.
As the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) stands to benefit directly from the provision of disaster reduction equipment, its Director, Mr. Howie Prince, recalled that the Marriaqua flood mitigation project was one of the earliest disaster risk reduction projects funded by Japan’s grant aid.
Non-Resident Ambassador of Japan to SVG, H.E. Mitsuhiko Okada, stated that he is honoured to be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for signing ceremony for the “Economic and Social Development Programme”. To this end, H.E. Ambassador Okada expressed gratitude to Minister Straker for hosting the ceremony.
According to Ambassador Okada, the funds to procure disaster reduction equipment amount to approximately US $1 906 000. He further added that the types of equipment will be identified by the respective government ministries in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The hurricane season is upon us, stated Ambassador Okada, and the Caribbean is especially vulnerable to natural disasters such as distractive storms and heavy flooding during this period. In light of this, he said the “grant will be beneficial to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sir Louis Straker, highlighted that the Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are privileged and honoured to have warmer relations with the Government and People of Japan since April 15, 1980.
Minister Straker noted that Japan is to be admired because it “has had more than its share of disasters – natural and man-made” yet this has not deterred Japan from looking outward to see how it can “help developing countries to better themselves”. The Deputy Prime Minister was effusive in his gratitude to Ambassador Okada for what the Japanese Government has done for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, what they are doing, and what they will continue to do for the country.