St. Vincent: – Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has responded to suggestions by his supporters that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves might declare a state of emergency in the wake of Hurricane Tomas.
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has declared the northern section of St. Vincent “disaster areas” after the weather system battered the island with 75-miles-per-hour winds last weekend.
Eustace’s comment on his party’s radio programme on Monday, Nov. 1, may be interpreted by some as a subtle reminder that the nation was in election mode before the storm struck.
General elections in SVG are due by next March but were widely expected before the end of the year.
Gonsalves did not comment about the elections during a press briefing on Monday after a meeting of his Cabinet and senior government officials.
“There is nothing happening in St. Vincent now that requires a state of emergency. People are going about their business as usual. We have some people who are still in shelters but we expect by the end of the week that they will be out,” Eustace said.
“Kingstown is calm. The roads are clear, according to the prime minister, to the point where BRAGSA (the Bridges Roads and General Services Authority) is calling this morning, asking if you have any reports of roads that need to be cleared, especially in the farming community,” he added.
“And that is good. I support that kind of move because we need to get our production quickly back on stream to avoid further suffering later on,” Eustace said, even as he told the government not to “exaggerate” the damage done to the nation.
“Just remain calm and whatever you can do to assist your neighbour – it could be very simple things – do so. It is worth the while,” Eustace said.
He said the disaster struck even as some persons were already dealing with personal tragedies.
“Reach out to people like that. Whatever you can do, even to help nail up something, you do it” Eustace said.
“These things are very important. We can’t wait until whenever the government acts. Whatever we can do to ease the situation now, let us do it as individuals or in our communities. It is very important to do so. I want to say to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Keep hope. Keep hope alive. That is very important. Just keep hope alive,” said Eustace, a former prime minister.