PM To Make One Day Trip To Haiti, January 14, 2010

Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, is expected to make a one day trip to earthquake ravaged Haiti tomorrow (January 14) to have a first-hand look at the devastation there and see in what ways Jamaica can help.

During today’s (Jan.13) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Minister with responsibility for Information, Hon. Daryl Vaz, expressed sympathy to the Haitian people on behalf of Jamaica. He described the earthquake, which shook the Caribbean island on January 12, as a “devastation that we don’t need at this time anywhere in the world.”

He told journalists that arrangements are being made for the Prime Minister and a small team from Jamaica to be flown to Haiti and return the same day. The trip is being paid for by the private sector which, Mr. Vaz said, has so far been coming forward to lend a hand to the relief effort.

Several companies have already made donations to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), which the agency will be sending to Haiti tonight, along with some of its own supplies.

“Once again, a collaborative effort between the Government and private sector of Jamaica is showing that when we work together we get a lot done in a short time and I really want to thank them so very much for coming on stream so quickly without having to be invited,” Mr. Vaz said.

The Information Minister also encouraged Jamaicans to donate to the relief effort through account number 212387304 opened by ODPEM at the National Commercial Bank. ODPEM has also opened a pledge desk and persons can call the office at 906-9674-5 or 754-9077-8 if they are interested in helping the people of Haiti through this tragedy.

Mr. Vaz added that a video board in Half-Way-Tree has also been made available to the Government and will be used to display information in relation to the crisis, including the account number to which donations can be made.

Mr. Vaz also noted that with most of the communication lines affected by the earthquake it was difficult to get information out of Haiti.

“We have been trying desperately since this morning to account for our Jamaicans, who are there, both in terms of residents and also a number of Jamaicans, who go there on business,” he said. However, Mr. Vaz informed that all the members of a delegation from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), who are currently in Haiti, have been accounted for.

He said that Jamaica would be collaborating with the rest of CARICOM to decide on a greater level of response, but that in the meantime, Jamaica is “doing everything in our power to mobilise and get out of here as quickly as possible to help our brothers and sisters.”