Vincentians are hesitating to leave for nearby Islands amid eruptions of La Soufrière volcano, over concerns about their property and the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit recently announced that 300 evacuees were expected to arrive on island early last week and would be housed in Portsmouth for a period of up to five months in the aftermath of the disaster.
However, a communiqué from an emergency meeting of Organization of the Eastern Caribbean State (OECS) leaders on April 12, quoted Vincentian Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as indicating the concerns of his countrymen who may be facing evacuation.
He disclosed that those hesitating to leave for other islands did not want to and cited reasons such as concerns for their property and possessions, and vaccine hesitancy.
When questioned on his Anou Palay programme this week on the status of the 300 evacuees for whom Dominica has already made accommodation, Skerrit indicated that while the offer is still on the table, only 21 individuals have so far expressed interest in coming to Dominica.
“I am not surprised that people do not want to move,” he said. “This is unlike [Hurricane] Maria where everybody was out of work, every home was affected and you had a serious shelter crisis. While they do have a shelter challenge in St Vincent, because many families are in shelters or by relatives, but people want to see what happens to their homes that they left in the northern zone, their animals, their crops, their businesses.”
Skerrit has also disclosed that there are discussions between the ministry of foreign affairs in Dominica and SVG to discuss the protocols and requirements of the Vincentians when they depart from their island and arrive in Dominica.
The prime minister has also announced that the government has authorized a donation of EC1 million dollars to the government and people of SVG in response to the volcanic eruption.
In addition to what has already been supplied, he urged Dominicans to continue donating whatever they can towards the effort to assist those affected.
Source: Dominica News Online