No help without benefits, says Trinidad PM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Trinidad and Tobago will no longer dish out money to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries needing help without proper consultation or assessment.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar made it quite clear that there will be “no help for CARICOM countries hit by Tropical Storm Tomas without benefits to Trinidad and Tobago.”

She said that before assistance is given she has to consult with her Cabinet as well as the Opposition leader.

Moreover, Persad Bissessar said that any assistance given must have some kind of benefits to the twin island republic.

For instance, if help is to given to rebuild homes, Trinidad and Tobago contractors, labour and to some extent materials must come from her country.

However she said she will see what relief can be given to St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Barbados, which have been hit hard hit by the storm.

She disclosed that St Vincent Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves called her stating that his country was hard hit in that 600 homes were completely destroyed and the agriculture industry was shattered and not a plantain or banana tree was now standing.

Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan has also been contacted by his counterparts from Barbados and St Lucia.

The prime minister, however, promised to help and indicated that two large containers with supplies have already been packed to be dispatched to the countries seriously affected.

Her predecessor, Patrick Manning, was criticised to giving substantial aid without consultation and approval by the government as a whole.

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