Vincentians will be treated to a blend of reggae and soca at a grand benefit concert at Victoria Park on Sunday in aid of Dominica, which was ravaged by Tropical Storm Erika on August 27.
The storm dumped more than 12 inches of rain on the Nature Isle killing more than 20 persons.
Many homes, roads and bridges were destroyed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is collaborating with Invest SVG to raise funds to assist Dominica as it rebuilds following the storm.
“We here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines can identify and empathise with this type of disaster, this type of unforeseen force of nature, as we too experienced something similar in December 2013,” Bernadette Ambrose-Black, director of Invest SVG told a press conference.
She said her team was honoured when Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves, approached Invest SVG with the idea, dubbed “Youth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the Children of Dominica”.
Ambrose-Black said the campaign is two-pronged, the first part being the “Send A Message Drive”, which sees persons being offered the opportunity to purchase and personalise a paper plane for EC$1, which is then hung in the Bank of SVG Reigate Building or the offices of communications provider FLOW.
“However, the plane will be sent, along with the proceed. One hundred per cent of the proceeds will go towards the relief efforts in Dominica and the planes with the personalised messages will be flown to Dominica, along with the proceeds from the concert.”
A number of renowned regional and local artistes will be performing at the event.
The line up includes local acts, Hypa 4000, Luta, Fireman Hooper, Mad Skull, Keith Currency, Jamesy P, Shaunelle McKenzie, Kevin Lytle, Becket and Candy Man; regional acts, Sizzla, Mr Vegas, TOK, WCK, Alison Hinds, Protoje and Half Pint, K-Netik.
Speaking at the press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves said:
“The August 27th tropical storm was completely devastating and as bad as our flood was in Christmas Eve 2013, all the indicators are that Dominica suffered even more than we did, if you imagine that.”
He said more than 30 persons have died in Dominica as a result of the storm.
“Whereas we lost something approaching 20 per cent of our gross domestic product in loss and damage, Dominica has lost 50 per cent of their gross domestic product in loss and damage. Entire villages have been washed away. So, it is not an odd house here and there. Entire villages are gone. There are hundreds of people who are homeless,” he said.
Gonsalves said that infrastructure, including the airport, roads, and bridges “are just as if they were never there.
“The scale of the damage is immense. And, of course, Dominica was there for us in our time of need and they are our sister island and we have very close to Dominica as we do to all OECS islands.”
He said that SVG, at the government level, has done a lot for Dominica and plans to do more.
Gonsalves said the government has sent cash, Bailey bridges, nurses, engineers, experts from VINLEC and has given Dominica a lot of technical support “because we just went through the process of going to the international community to ask for money to get relief funds, we know how to liaise with the World Bank and IMF and other donors.
“So we have been providing a lot of sort of backroom support for Dominica as well as they come out of this tragedy.”
Gonsalves said his ministry was moved to think of what else can be done to help Dominica, and was inspired by the concert held in SVG after the December 2013 floods which raised over EC$200,000 for the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
Admission to the concert is EC$20, with VIP tickets going for EC$60.
Tickets are available at Singer, Digicel, LIME, Flow, X-Treme FM, Music Centre, Multigraphics, Invest SVG, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.