A Barbados Coast Guard ship and 40 sailors arrived in Kingstown to deliver humanitarian aid after three explosive eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano filled the skies in and around St. Vincent with stony ash throughout Friday.
Late into the night on Friday, the crew of HMBS Rudyard Lewis was busy loading about seven tonnes of supplies on to the vessel.
During the crew’s final preparations, Attorney General Dale Marshall and Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams visited the base at HMBS Pelican to wish the sailors safe passage.
Marshall told the contingent that though the current situation in St. Vincent is a worrying one, it was at times like these Barbados needs to assist its fellow Caribbean nations.
The AG said: “I have no doubt, that everyone in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are absolutely petrified. It’s at times like this that we need to lend a strong arm of support to our brothers and sisters in the region when they need it.
“As I speak to you, the Prime Minister [Mia Mottley] is engaging in discussion with Prime Minister [Ralph Gonsalves], to see what assistance St. Vincent and the Grenadines will require of us, and Barbados stands ready to go very much over, and above that what which we are already doing.”
Earlier Friday at an update on the implications of the eruption’s fallout on Barbados, the Home Affairs Minister signalled that preparations are already underway to provide housing for any Vincentian evacuees.
Wilfred Abrahams said that while the Mia Mottley administration stands ready to assist, a formal request has not yet been made and therefore it was still early days to give details about possible accommodation.
But he gave an assurance that comprehensive measures were being “worked on”.
Abrahams said: “There will be a formal request if necessary from St Vincent and then the appropriate orders will be made from our side, at which the information will become available. It is a little bit premature to say what arrangements have been made because we are not yet at that stage.
Several cruise ships are also expected to provide assistance in evacuating residents out of Kingstown.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George told journalists that COVID-19 testing would be part of the process of accommodating Vincentians here.
“We will at no time take any shortcuts and PCR testing or whatever form of testing will be fully operationalised and therefore, the public of Barbados will be informed.”
In St Vincent, Deputy Director of the Agency for Public Information (API) Nadia Slater, advised Vincentians that in order to board the cruise ships for a neighbouring island like Barbados, they must be vaccinated with at least dose of the vaccine.
On Thursday evening, Prime Minister Mottley pledged whatever assistance is needed.