PRESS RELEASE – A month after the passage of Hurricane Maria through the Caribbean, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Santa Lucia has chosen to recognize the humanitarian work done by the management and staff at the Hewanorra International Airport, once the air bridge between Venezuela, Saint Lucia and Dominica.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts between the Governments of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Saint Lucia and the Commission of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the air-bridge — connecting Venezuela, Saint Lucia and Dominica — was established. For a period of ten days, Hewanorra International Airport was the logistics and operational base for realizing the transfer of the much-needed relief items, equipment and qualified personnel to Dominica.
In this light, special recognitions were given, firstly to the General Manager of Hewanorra International Airport, Lynden Leonce, who gave his full support to this important humanitarian work; and secondly to Deputy Director of the Saint Lucia National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Julian Dubois, for the outstanding participation and continued support making the airlift with the deployment of 60 Venezuelan professionals from the Simón Bolívar Humanitarian Task Force a reality.
The Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Saint Lucia, H.E. LeiffEscalona, used the occasion to make special mention of Dr.Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), for his tireless work in ensuring the success of the operation.
At the same time, she thanked the Government of Saint Lucia and the institutions which participated in the operation, highlighting as well the support of the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), and to quote her words, “in particular, we want to recognize the effort, dedication, solidarity and humanity of the administrative staff and workers of the Hewanorra International Airport. For 10 days, they toiled, contributing their grain of sand to this extraordinary mission, for their sister island Dominica.”
For her part, Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole Mc Donald, emphasized that, “After Hurricane Maria passed through Dominica, the Government of St. Lucia needed the help of friends like Venezuela, who quickly placed resources at our disposal to respond to the crisis, which included the use of their military aircraft and helicopters to move supplies to Dominica.
“On behalf of the Government of Saint Lucia, we are very grateful to the Ambassador of Venezuela and her team, the government and the people of Venezuela, for their quick response to support not only Dominica, but also the other Caribbean islands that were affected by hurricanes María, Irma and Jose.”
The Head of International Relations at the OECS, Ambassador Anthony Severin, in his address, thanked the Prime Ministers of Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and the various members of civil society in each respective country who “play a vital role in the mobilization efforts” with the provision of food, water, medicines and other supplies lending support to the humanitarian aid in the sister island of Dominica.”
Finally, certificates of recognition were handed to the personnel at the Hewanorra International Airport, the airport services company, Harris Handling and Logistics Services Ltd, Hewanorra Air Cargo Services, St. Lucia Air Freighters and the representative of the Fort Ville Inn, who accommodated the members of the Simon Bolivar Humanitarian Task Force.