Bermuda’s West Indian Association (WIA) stepped up their continuing fundraising drive to support and assist Caribbean residents left stricken by two of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in hurricane history.
This after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit several islands back-to-back, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in their wake throughout the Caribbean.
First it was Irma that swept through as a Category 5 hurricane that flattened the island of Barbuda, leaving widespread damage on several islands, with some of them hard hit by a second blow from Hurricane Maria within a week.
Speaking a a news conference this afternoon, WIA Secretary, Susan Moore-Williams said several events will be added to their list of fundraisers to support the ongoing process of restoration and relief.
Historically, she said the association targets medium to long term objectives while they “continue to liaise with those who are on the ground or who are already involved in immediate rescue and assistance”.
“Our focus in the short term is on fundraising activities, the proceeds of which we donate directly into specific projects related to rebuilding communities, health and education projects,” said Ms Moore-Williams.
The WIA will re-evaluate the status of the islands affected as the hurricane season continues and again at the end of the season, to determine where their donated funds would be most effective.
Events planned include a telethon on October 12th, a family fun day in November and their annual ‘Christmas Round De Caribbean’ fundraiser in December. The WIA is also exploring support options through “collaboration with government and other community partners”.
Acting Premier Walter Roban, a longstanding WIA member, noted that Bermuda’s social ties to the Caribbean has always resulted in help whenever Bermuda was hit by hurricanes. As a Bermudian of Caribbean descent, Mr Roban’s mother “has Kittian ancestry and his father is from St Vincent.
“It’s fitting that we do what we can because we have received the benefit of their talent when they saw us in need,” he said. And he urged Bermudians to do whatever they can to help. “We should see the Caribbean as our brothers and sisters, not just other territories to our south. We feel that it is just a natural extension of who we are, and that the effort to assist should be something natural,” said Mr Roban.
In terms of financial support, he noted that the Royal Bermuda Regiment is already hard at work in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The WIA launched their Caribbean Relief Fundraising Campaign with the ‘Give From the Heart’ Summer Cruise, that was sold out in advance.
The association has a long history of “fundraising and providing support to Caribbean countries affected by the forces of nature”, since the group formed in 1977.
Ms Moore-Williams also commended the recent “deployment of the Royal Bermuda Regiment contingent who bravely put themselves in harm’s way to provide immediate assistance in Turks & Caicos”. She also thanked all members of the local private sector, charities and community organisations involved in providing varying kinds of assistance.
- Interested in making a donation to the West Indian Association (Bermuda) by making a deposit, the Bank of Butterfield Account Number is 2000-6060-870030-200. Volunteers who wish to assist should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the WIA’s Facebook page.