The region’s peace advocates are appealing to the United Nations to establish a relief fund to assist the countries battered by the recent category five hurricanes.
In addressing the first Caribbean Peace Conference being held at the National Union of Public Workers headquarters in Dalkeith, St Michael, Hope McNish, the president of the Jamaica Peace Council, said the UN had an obligation to help these countries recover from the storms and mitigate against the impact of climate change.
“We must advocate for immediate and unconditional support to the countries of the region that were affected by the recent disasters. This has to be much more than the usual disaster assistance as these were way beyond anything that the region has ever experienced.
“We need to call on the United Nations . . . for the setting of a special fund for assistance to nations in their recovery from natural disasters associated with global warming and for the development of adequate infrastructure to cope with the impact of climate change,” McNish stressed.
Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin and the United States Virgin Islands suffered the worst of the monstrous hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The authorities in these countries have said it could be years before they return to a semblance of normality, as some of them, including Dominica, struggle to provide the very basic of needs to their people.
Pan-Africanist and attorney-at-law Robert Bobby Clarke held Caribbean leaders responsible somewhat for the suffering in the wake of the storms.
Clarke said while he had been advocating for a developmental plan for more than half a century, regional leaders had failed to prepare for the worst.
“We have been trying to put together for more than 50 years a developmental plan that would have dealt with the hurricanes in Dominica, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, for all these years,” Clarke disclosed.
“We have been unable to . . . get the governments of the Caribbean to understand their responsibility. Do not deal with a hurricane the morning it happens, you deal with a hurricane a year before it happens. You put into place all the relevant things.”