PM: US$1M for victims

Speaking with reporters in the rotunda of the Red House following the ceremonial opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament, Manning said he first learnt about the earthquake at 7 pm on Tuesday.

“We have taken a decision to commit US$1 million to the Haitian effort immediately. Things are financially tight with us now but we are in a much better position than Haiti. Haiti is a Caricom country and we have to take this into account on how we treat with this issue,” Manning said.

Asked how else this country would be helping Haiti, Manning replied: “One thing in particular is that they are going to need clothing, foodstuffs and things of that nature. So we are probably going to mount an effort immediately.”

Manning added he would work out the logistics with his Cabinet colleagues later in the day. Newsday was reliably informed that PNM MPs are being advised to launch drives within their constituencies to collect food, clothes and other items to send to Haiti.

On the issue of sending TT troops to Haiti, Manning replied: “It depends on what may be required. There are foreign troops on the ground in Haiti right now. Therefore it is not a question of sending foreign troops or sending troops to Haiti. We want to know what are the requirements before we jump and do anything.”

Asked if he had spoken with Haitian President Rene Preval since the earthquake, Manning said: “I have asked my office to see if they can contact his office. If they can as I get back to the office I will talk to him but I doubt that they can get through at this time.” He said TT is speaking with its Caricom neighbours as well as other nations in the Americas about the situation in Haiti, and was unaware if any TT nationals were in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Before delivering the prayer at yesterday’s ceremonial opening of Parliament, Speaker Barry Sinanan said: “Let us pray and as we do so, let us think of the people of Haiti at this time in their hour of great distress.”

Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday yesterday sent letters to Preval and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stating that UNC members and the people of TT were praying for the Haitian people.


"PM: US$1M for victims"

More in this section