The CARI-ON team. From left: Andrea Jones; Hayden Jones, chair; Melba DaSilva, vice-chair; Andrea DeSilva, communications director; Consul General Fitzgerald Huggins; Hassan Perreira, Gideon Exeter.

TORONTO — A group of Vincentian nationals in the Toronto region, on Sept. 22, launched CARI-O, — Conducting Active Relief Impacting Our Nation — a committee to allow Vincentians here to prepare the community to respond to disasters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

This committee is the third of its kind launched in the Caribbean community here and is part of an umbrella organisation called Canadian Caribbean Disaster Relief Action (CCaDiRA).

CCaDiRA’s mandate is to coordinate disaster preparedness, relief, emergency and response activities between the Caribbean diaspora in Canada and the Caribbean region.

A group of just over 50 persons attended the launch, which heard a number of addresses. 

Rahul Singh of Global Medic spoke about his organisation’s work in reaching out to countries affected by disasters within a short period of time. 

Singh noted that Global Medic is a registered Canadian charity, and its mandate is to save lives by providing short-term, rapid response in the wake of disasters and crisis, both at home and abroad.

“The key word is rapid, as you might expect from an agency that was founded by paramedics. Global Medic is often the first team, and many times the only one, to get critical interventions to people in life-threatening situations following a disaster. This is what we are known for in the world of humanitarian disaster response.”

Global Medic achieves this through a well-developed Emergency Program and it’s internationally deployable Rapid Response Team (RRT).

Consul General for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Toronto, Fitzgerald Huggins was the featured speaker, and spoke to the effect that climate change on the world today. 

Shelley John, director of sales for SVG Tourism provided an outline of her division of government in promoting SVG as a tourist destination in good times and even during when disasters affect the country. 

Hayden Jones, chairman of CARI-ON outlined the functions and purpose of his organisation, which has nine active members but is hoping that others will see the benefit of becoming members. 

Also addressing the occasion was Gideon Exeter, interim chair of CCaDiRA. 

Exeter explained how his umbrella organisation is intended to represent the Caribbean community in Canada to coordinate with all partners in disaster preparedness and relief in the Caribbean and in Canada.

4 replies on “Vincies in Toronto launch disaster preparedness group”

  1. There is a saying that ‘words only matter if you back it up with action’; and action I can attest was once the paradigm of Vincentian Ontarians during the 60s, 70s, 80s, and up to the mid 90’s following the implementation of the St.Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto (SVGAT). An impartial organization once well-structured for the wellbeing of the people of our home land and the reason it has lasted long enough to have celebrated its 50 anniversary this January 2019.
    My first though in reading this headline of this ‘disaster preparedness group’ was: another Vincy group/organization again in Toronto! It would appear that vincy groups are descending on Toronto similar to McDonalds at every intersection.

    What happen to those times when Consulate representatives used their diplomacy in mobilizing with the focus of unification within communities? The formation of so many groups hailing from a small Island like SVG is a sure sign of disharmony, especially when the main organization’s (SVGAT) constitution embraces subcommittees.
    So may I ask why this newly formed ‘disaster preparedness group’ is not a SUBCOMMITTEE of our main Toronto organization, especially considering that members of this group also have leading roles in other Vincentian organizations?

  2. Charles & Bernadette Ambrose says:

    This is great. It’s our hope that many people will see the urgency of having such a group. We most certainly can learn from the recent disaster in the Bahamas. Looking forward for great strides.

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