In the wake of Hurricane Irma, a special appeal has been made for regional governments to waive airport taxes and other levies on emergency relief supplies.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados-based Caribbean Credit Bureau (CCB) Grady Clarke made the call, while announcing that CCB was about to embark on a major post-disaster relief drive, in support of neighbouring countries ravaged by the storm.
Clarke, who is currently working with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) to put together a database of skilled professionals in the Eastern Caribbean with a view to carrying out voluntary work in the affected territories, said his company was also prepared to put money behind the rebuilding process, and he urged other regional businesses to do the same.
Clarke also appealed to governments “to endorse the waiving of any airport departure taxes [and] VAT [Value Added Tax] on any airline tickets for people that volunteer to go to disaster zones.
“So we are going to play our part and we ask all other companies to do what they can. I already see in the newspapers the initiatives so many people are doing. We have to continue doing that and a lot more,” he said.
“Let us face it, if the shoe was on the other foot we would want the help from our region also,” he said while calling on Barbadians in particular to “let us, as a nation, come together and see what we can do.
“The co-operative movement is all about cooperating and working together to help our own. So let us see from the cooperative society, the skilled resources we can draw on to provide much needed disaster rebuilding in neighbouring islands,” he stressed.
Hurricane Irma ripped through the northern Caribbean last week, leaving nearly 40 dead, along with a huge trail of destruction and billions of dollars in losses.
Among the territories worst affected by the superstorm were Anguilla, Barbuda, Sint Martin, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cuba.
Since the destruction, millions of dollars in relief funds and supplies have been pouring in to the affected countries.