The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has joined forces with the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) and the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) to give some much needed assistance to Barbuda, which was recently devastated by Hurricane Irma.

During a recent press conference, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry, National Authorising Officer and National EPA Coordinator for Antigua and Barbuda, expressed his country’s appreciation for the gesture.

He thanked the BCCI, BHTA and BIBA on behalf of the Government of Antigua & Barbuda for extending the hand of friendship, as well as: “All those persons who demonstrated the humanitarian drive within all of us – that when our brothers and sisters are devastated, they are willing to come to the table.”

He stressed however, that there was also the need for phase two: “There is also a need for the response to deal with the rebuilding process. The Governments are trying their best to deal with the humanitarian crisis but there has to be a second phase in terms of the rebuilding in Barbuda and in Dominica.

“People of the region, let us respond to our challenges together. Together we are stronger. Spare a thought for the people who have had to run from their homes. How many of us have a full appreciation of the level of psychological damage or impact or effects on the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters, the children? None of us would have wanted to endure what they went through but we thank the almighty for sparing life.”

BHTA CEO, Rudy Grant, explained that the Association saw the partnership as a very important and critical effort, “The entire BHTA family is supportive of this effort because we recognize that there is great discomfort in the islands affected and we recognize the importance of supporting our brothers and sisters in the region.

“We cannot imagine what it must be like to have an entire island devastated in the case of Barbuda and as we also reflect on the challenges of Dominica. We are going to be refocusing our efforts because we realise there is still need for additional items and we will continue to work with the BCCI and BIBA as we continue to ensure that we are able to provide more items.”

Grant added that the BHTA was also working with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) with their relief funds and gave the assurance that the Association was committed to continue working with its partners to support the efforts in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and the wider Caribbean.

“The level of devastation is unimaginable. We are happy today to be a part of this effort and to say that it does not stop here. As the Ambassador mentioned, there is also the need for effort towards the rebuilding and we stand beside you as Caribbean brothers and sisters, committed to ensuring that, through our various organisations, we are able to assist,” he added.

Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.