Addressing a post-Cabinet news conference yesterday, Manning said the type and quantum of aid which this country sends to Haiti will be based on information from a fact-finding mission which Jamaican PM Bruce Golding is currently undertaking in Haiti on behalf of Caricom.
Expressing this country’s condolences to the Government and people of Haiti, Manning said the earthquake bears frightening similarities to a 2004 earthquake which killed over 300,000 people in southeast Asia.
Noting that Haiti has experienced some 40 aftershocks after the 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday and Haitian President Rene Preval has “taken up residence in his country’s airport”, Manning said, “We have to adopt the posture that we must be our brother’s keeper. That whatever little we have we feel we have a responsibility to share it with our less fortunate brothers in Haiti.”
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is committed to doing whatever we can, whatever we are able to within the context of our own resources to relieve the pain and suffering which the people of Haiti are suffering at this time.”
He said those findings could determine whether TT pledges more than the US$1 million it has already committed.
Manning said Government is considering using one of the two fast ferries from the domestic seabridge to ship relief supplies to Haiti. He said by today, Government will announce the channels through which members of the public can contribute to the relief effort. Recalling that Government has been criticised in the past about assisting other Caricom countries instead of dealing with domestic issues, Manning said he refused to believe that any citizen of this country could be heartless in saying that TT should not help Haiti.