BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 14, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Secondary school students living in those islands that were severely affected by the passage of category five Hurricane Irma, and who are registered to sit Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams, are being offered accommodation to continue their studies in St. Kitts and Nevis on a temporary basis.
This is part of a broad-based approach, unveiled by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, in response to the needs of those affected countries, as they seek to rebuild and return to a state of normalcy.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris was part of an OECS Monetary Council delegation that visited the storm-affected island of Anguilla on Wednesday (September 13), where he met with over 100 St. Kitts and Nevis nationals living there and identified focal points of assistance.
One area of concern identified during that consultation was the consideration for students of those affected countries, particularly those who are registered to sit CXC exams. As a result, Dr. Harris announced that accommodations are being made for displaced students in Anguilla, St. Maarten and the BVI who are registered for upcoming CXC exams.
Speaking during a press conference held today, Thursday, September 14, Prime Minister Harris said, “These persons will be offered free enrollment in our schools until their own high schools are ready to accommodate them. We have prioritized those who are about to write the CXC exam…because the only high school in Anguilla has been significantly damaged – maybe 90 percent of it. The Government of Anguilla has said that they would be ready for October. That is as it is a prediction, an expectation, but the parents and guardians are concerned that they may have a long time and they are rightly concerned if they think that their students will be disadvantaged from a long closure of the high school.”
In addition, the Government has made its hospitals available to residents of neighbouring islands should the need for health services be required. St. Kitts and Nevis has also offered the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport as a staging platform for relief efforts to St. Barths, St. Eustatius, French St. Martin, Saba and Dutch St. Maarten, and has also provided diplomatic clearance for foreign vessels that could not safely get into the waters of French St. Martin.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris also revealed that the St. Kitts and Nevis Government has provided entry to 251 persons, who were processed at the sea ports.
“Of this number, 81 persons held U.S. passports, 42 of them held St. Kitts and Nevis passports – so those were our nationals coming back home – 42 held French passports, 36 held passports from the Netherlands, 15 held passports from India, 7 held passports from Guyana, 1 held passport from Trinidad and Tobago, 4 held passports from Taiwan, 7 held passports from Ireland and 2 held passports from Russia. All passengers were processed by Immigration Officers, Customs and Excise Officers, health officials were on hand including Veterinary Officers, and officers of the K-9 Unit were also on hand,” Prime Minister Harris stated, adding, “Immigration officers have reported that all these passengers had adequate documentation.”
The honourable prime minister further stated that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is prepared to assist in the restoration of electricity supply to Anguilla and to any other island that requests such assistance.
“In our moment of great need, when persons here were becoming impatient after a hurricane…when electricity had gone out as a result of fallen pole lines and poles etc., it was the good Government of St. Lucia that volunteered – they didn’t let us come to ask – it volunteered the services of several persons to assist in the restoration of our electricity supply. We are grateful for the assistance of the Government of St. Lucia. We want to return the favour to other countries similarly displaced, as we were the recipient of the good graces of another country,” the prime minister said.
Prime Minister Harris stressed that these outreach efforts being made available by the St. Kitts and Nevis Government are manageable and “will make a significant difference in the efforts to restore those countries now impacted to a state of normalcy.”