BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - LOCAL tourism officials are in solidarity with those islands that were affect by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Currently, the United States Virgin Island, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten/Martin, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are devastated, losing a number of tourism hotspots in those countries.
Chairman of the St. Kitts Tourism Association, Nick Menon recognized the damage those islands received.
Giving welcome remarks at the launch of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority’s website and stakeholders meeting today (Sept. 28) at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort, Menon took a moment to recognize friends and colleagues in the devastated islands.
“They have had a really devastating time recently [and] just when we thought that it was over, it came to us again. Some of the images that we are seeing from Dominica, St. Maarten, Anguilla, from St. Thomas, Tortola, it goes on and on and on, and just really depressing,” Menon said.
Currently, most of the islands are receiving either financial or other assistance from various countries in the Caribbean region and other developed countries.
The death toll from the hurricanes are expected to climb as Dominica and Puerto Rico officials now make their way into communities that were previously unreachable.
The Chairman noted that their plight and success would also influence “our plight and success, so we wish them a speedy recovery”, adding that he is aware that people are doing many things individually and as a community to assist those in need.
“Again, anything that we can do from here in supporting their repair, regeneration of what is a fallen tourism industry in certain islands, I am sure we will stand together and assist whereever we can.”
Tourism Minister Hon. Lindsay Grant noted that “we are in difficult times” not only for the people in St. Kitts and Nevis, but also for those in the region.
Reflecting on the damage caused by the passage of the two hurricanes, Grant lamented that “our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Dominica, St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, [and] Puerto Rico who are in troubling times”.
The Minister explained that he spoke to one of his friends from Dominica, who recounted that they are living in a house without a roof and know not from where their next meal would be coming.
“I don’t think we can imagine the turmoil that they are going through today as we speak. And so I believe that anything that we can do for them we really should do,” noted Grant.
He stressed that the Federation was spared of the ravages by the Almighty God.
St. Kitts and Nevis only sustained minor damage as a result of the two storms, which packed winds of over 160 mph.
Early estimates from the government put damage to the Public Sector from the two storms at over EC$100M.
However, at the moment, tourism officials could not put a figure on the cost of damage from the second storm.