Opposition Senator Shevern John has appealed to the government to assist churches whose buildings were damaged or destroyed by the April 2021 eruption of La Soufriere, even as she also pleaded for help for homeowners.
“There are many constituents who still have a lot to contend with in terms of the ash-rusted roofs,” she said during the Budget Debate last week.
“The ash fell on … everybody’s roofs,” said John, who is the opposition New Democratic PArty’s caretaker for North Windward.
In 2020, John failed by 69 votes to wrest the seat from Montgomery Daniel of the Unity Labour Party, who has been representing the district since 2001.
She told Parliament that two years after the all-clear was given “some persons still have to move their little babies because the rust is dropping when strong winds blow and the water is wetting the bed when it rains.
“I do hope that the monies allocated for repairs in Budget 2024 will be spent fairly, equally and justly,” John said.
John, a practicing Christian, further said that many church buildings in the volcano red zone were destroyed by the heavy ashfall as well as Hurricane Elsa, which impacted the north of St. Vincent in July 2021.
“I know many are still struggling to rebuild. I’m not sure if the minister responsible [for national reconciliation] has done an evaluation, has spoken or has met with these church leaders to find out from them how another ministry can assist them in their rebuilding process.”
The senator said she has seen the struggle of many of those churches in trying to rebuild.
“Some can’t make it because their congregation is very small. And I’m hoping that the minister could speak on behalf of these churches to the relevant ministries to assist them in their rebuilding process,” she told Parliament.