(PRESS SEC) – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and his Team Unity Government reached out to the private sector over the weekend, to organize the transport of relief supplies to the neighbouring island of Saba.
Saba, a five-square-mile island with approximately 2,000 residents, was one of the Caribbean territories hit hard by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday.
Mr. Regiwell Francis, owner of St. Kitts Marine Works Ltd., said that Prime Minister Harris phoned him at 7:30pm last night to elicit his help, “and I was able to coordinate it [the humanitarian relief effort] by midnight.”
The owner of St. Kitts Marine Works Ltd. explained that, “All of the vessels that are taken out of the water for storage are stored at my boatyard, and repairs of major vessels are also done here. They need major vessels to go to the neighbouring islands and, because of that need, they contacted me to find out when those vessels would be going back in [the waters] and if I could coordinate with any of them to take water and supplies to different locations.”
Mr. Francis added: “Upon getting that request from the Prime Minister, I contacted Mr. Wincent Perkins who had a charter from Saba to St. Maarten. He was in Nevis and was going to Saba empty, so we asked him to take the water on his way down so we could piggyback on that charter.”
Captain Wincent Perkins, owner of Islander Water Sports on the island of Nevis, offered two of his boats to transport the supplies to Saba today, Sunday, September 10th, 2017. The supplies consisted of three pallets of water provided by the St. Kitts Bottling Company Ltd.
“The St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force provided the trucks to transport the water from the factory to the pier and also the manpower to take them on and off of the trucks and load them onto the boats before they set sail for Saba,” Captain Kayode Sutton said today, Sunday.
Today’s humanitarian relief effort represents the latest push by Prime Minister Harris to leverage public-private sector partnerships in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Last week, for instance, at the request of the Honourable Prime Minister, Range Developments (the developer of the Park Hyatt St. Kitts) and Kier Construction Ltd. (the builder of the new luxury hotel) started work at the Mansion Pavilion, removing dangerous debris such as sheets of galvanized metal originating from the pavilion, which littered the playing field after the hurricane.
In expressing gratitude to Range and Kier last week, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said, “Here it is you have the private citizens coming forward to render assistance to the country in getting it back on its feet again,” while also noting that they can serve as a model for the local corporate community.