Venezuela prom­ises 300 homes for Do­minica storm vic­tims; pres­i­dent Maduro to visit

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Venezuela’s pres­i­dent Ni­colás Maduro is due to visit Do­minica this week­end as his gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would pro­vide 300 houses for peo­ple af­fected by Trop­i­cal Storm Erika.

Prime Min­is­ter Roo­sevelt Sk­er­rit said Do­minica has ac­cepted the of­fer.

“The Venezue­lans brought in over the week­end one such struc­ture to be erected, be­cause we ex­pect the Pres­i­dent of Venezuela to come to Do­minica on Satur­day where he will have the sym­bolic hand­ing over of this one home and, of course, mak­ing a pro­nounce­ment on the 300 homes for those af­fected by Trop­i­cal Storm Erika,” he said. “We ex­pect the first 50 homes will be here in the next cou­ple weeks and the Min­istry of Hous­ing . . . will ad­vise the Cab­i­net on where we go about erect­ing those homes so we are try­ing to move as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Sk­er­rit made the an­nounce­ment as he also dis­closed that gov­ern­ment was re­lo­cat­ing 94 peo­ple, cur­rently liv­ing in shel­ters since Erika’s rains caused flood­ing and land­slides in some com­mu­ni­ties, to more com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“We are in dis­cus­sions with some pri­vate prop­erty own­ers, some guest houses, who all have in­di­cated their will­ing­ness to help ac­com­mo­date those res­i­dents, al­beit at a cost, and the State will cover the costs as­so­ci­ated with hous­ing and food . . . at those guest houses. We are hop­ing that we can fi­nal­ize the costs with two of the prop­er­ties. One has been fi­nal­ized in terms of what the per­son is de­mand­ing and what the gov­ern­ment has agreed to pay and the two oth­ers . . . they will send us a pro­posal so that Cab­i­net would be in a po­si­tion to rat­ify the ap­proval of the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance in re­spect to that,” he ex­plained.

“We will be dis­cussing with the com­mu­nity, with the res­i­dents, the 94 of them, to see how we will go about as­sign­ing them to dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties, tak­ing a num­ber of vari­ables into con­sid­er­a­tion and not want­ing to split fam­i­lies and so forth.”

The group is cur­rently be­ing housed at a gram­mar school and Sk­er­rit said it was time to pro­vide them with more com­fort and pri­vacy.

“The same ap­proach is be­ing looked at in re­spect to the res­i­dents of Du­bique and also some fam­i­lies from Pe­tite Sa­vanne who stayed back in Grand Bay,” he said, adding that gov­ern­ment was still fi­nal­iz­ing sites for the per­ma­nent re­lo­ca­tion of Du­bique and Pe­tite Sa­vanne res­i­dents.

Sk­er­rit said the re­quired sur­veys are be­ing done for those ar­eas so that Cab­i­net can be ad­vised on the most suit­able lo­ca­tion. He hoped that within days they would have an idea of ap­pro­pri­ate places.

The prime min­is­ter said the author­i­ties were also mak­ing progress in ac­cess­ing Pe­tite Sa­vanna to help res­i­dents re­cover prop­erty they wanted to sal­vage.

Venezuela’s pres­i­dent Ni­colás Maduro (right), in this file photo with Do­minica Prime Min­is­ter Roo­sevelt Sk­er­rit at the ALBA sum­mit ear­lier this year, will visit the

storm-hit is­land over the week­end.

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