Dominica is making progress, but there is still a long way to go.
This was the report of Lieutenant David Harewood, heading a Barbados Coast Guard group that returned home yesterday
Harewood said the repair efforts could not be completed soon.
“The progress is steady. They are trying their best to get the roadways back up; so the work is going to be continuing. It’s a mammoth task; so we don’t expect it’s going to be finished in a short space of time. But we are continuing to work steadfastly in getting the country back to normalcy.”
Harewood and his group were responsible this time around for taking members of the Regional Security Service back to their respective islands.
“The Coast Guard was deployed on three different occasions. This last trip was just to assist the RSS member states in moving back personnel to the countries. So we left on Tuesday. My job was to take back the St Vincent contingent and to bring back home the Barbados contingent,” he said.
Harewood explained the group also took supplies on this trip to further assist the relief efforts in the storm-ravished island.
“We took supplies again on this trip. This time we took a lot of clothing, more water, foodstuff, as well as beds and a lot of doors for the Commonwealth of Dominica,” he added.
Also returning on the HMBS Trident, were members of the Barbados Defence Force, Barbados Regiment and the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
Sergeant Paul Mayers, who headed the members of the RBPF, said it was a different experience for him, but one that
“The Police Force was represented by two constables and myself for the duration. We were deployed on the second of September and we returned today. It was a little different. Normally we are tasked with crime-fighting and crime prevention. This tour was more about humanity. We would have catered to persons that would have suffered from the effects of the disaster.
“So it was a totally different experience for me and my colleagues. We easily adjusted. The guys realized the task at hand. Realized the damaged that was done. And what those persons were faced with; so we adjusted to accommodate those needs.”
Colonel Alvin Quintyne said he was very proud of the Barbados contingent and said they should be commended for their
“I was very proud of the performance of the men in the Commonwealth of Dominica . . . . I spoke to them specifically about what I expected of them and they have lived up to those expectations. As you are well aware of the excellent work done by the HMBS Trident and her crew and as well more recently the land forces component from the Barbados Regiment who would have been deployed there as well to lend assistance to the Police Force in Dominica.
“From all reports that I have received on a daily basis, they were all executed with the level of professionalism that I expected them to discharge their duties. So I am very pleased with the men and women of the Barbados Defence Force.
“They have flown the Barbados Flag the way I expected them to in foreign lands. They were no incidents whatsoever. So
I think all Barbados should be proud of the men and women of the Defence Force.”
Quintyne also took the time to urge Barbadians to get prepared in the event that any natural disaster happened in the island. He said the devastation in Dominica should have been a wake-up call.
“I think there may be some level of complacency that would have set in here in Barbados. For me personally, when I visited Dominica, no number of photographs in the print media, no number of clips on CBC News can really give a true impression of the devastation that took place in Dominca.
“I think it is a message for us in Barbados and in the wider Caribbean region that we need to be prepared. Like I said, today its Dominica; tomorrow it could be Barbados, or any other member state of CARICOM and I would hope that we would be ready to respond at the national level. I hope the BDF continue to prepare themselves to be in that state of readiness.
“This operation that we have just completed in Dominica have just reinforced the point that we have to be ready at all times to come to the assistance of the people of Barbados if and when such a situation does arrive,” he added.
The operation in Dominca has now been brought to a close, but Quintyne said the Coast Guard would be making a few more trips to deliver supplies.
“The RSS has brought the operation in Dominica to a close. I think the Coast Guard is making a couple more trips to Dominica to take down some supplies. They are still calls coming in from individuals who have stuff to take; so some decision will be made within the next 24 hours or so, to see how many more trips we would be making down.”