St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Federation’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Brantley is explaining what the six-member mission he is leading to St Martin and Anguilla hopes to achieve.
He tells WINN FM that Basseterre is concerned about St Kitts and Nevis nationals in the affected islands, and is also intent on assisting the people of these countries in general.
“What we hope to do while on the ground there is to visit areas that are populated by our nationals, to meet with them, to hear from them first hand what their needs are and to better report to or own cabinet so that our government can mobilize the necessary resources be they transportation or otherwise, that can ease the suffering of our nationals. At the same time we are also assessing the needs of those islands to hear what it is they need. We have been in touch with the relevant authorities there and we’re working closely with them to make this trip a reality and to be able once we return to report in a factual way, not from hearsay or otherwise, but from personal observations what it is is happening in terms of the needs of our nationals there. We can’t mobilize without accurate information and that is what we are seeking to acquire.”
President Macron is visiting St Martin and has stated that France will assist in getting the country back to normalcy. WINN FM asked how will that visit impact Minister Brantley’s mission.
“It doesn’t impact on our mission, at the end of the day we welcome the visit of President Macron, we think that that is important. We understand that President Trump as well is supposed to be headed to the Virgin Islands, that’s what leaders do. People in government and in leadership positions must make that effort to demonstrate that they care and that they want to know what is going on in these countries and territories and what is affecting their people. Macron has a responsibility to the French people and he’s exercising his mandate and his responsibility accordingly.
"We in St Kitts and Nevis have a responsibility to our nationals and as we well know many of our nationals live in places like St Maarten, St Thomas, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, St John’s in the US Virgin Islands and in Anguilla and so we’re seeking to reach out to them, no different to the way Macron is reaching out to his people or President Trump is going to be reaching out to the people in the United States Virgin Islands, that is our role. So we welcome his visit, we certainly hope that the considerable resources of France and of the Netherlands and of the British as the case may be, will be brought to bear on their respective territories but that does not absolve us of our own responsibility to our nationals, our citizens of St Kitts and Nevis and certainly our own responsibility to help our neighbours.”
WINN FM asked how many Kittitians and Nevisians have contacted the government asking for assistance.
“Well that is the core of the problem because the communication has not been up to speed and so we’re getting for example, messages which are sporadic, we’re getting messages from different quarters suggesting different things, some people are meeting me on the street and others on the street and saying to them, oh their cousin in St Maarten would like to come out but we have no contact details for their cousin, they can’t reach their cousin. So a lot of it is, if you will, people expressing opinions. We are now trying now to get down to the facts to ascertain who is who, where they are, what their needs are and that is why we feel that this trip to get boots on the ground so to speak would be the best way to go.”