STATEMENT BY HUGH RILEY, SECRETARY GENERAL, THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION, ON THE EFFECT OF HURRICANE MATTHEW
FRIDAY 7 OCTOBER, 2016
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and the extensive damage inflicted on our member countries and neighbours by the dangerous Hurricane Matthew, described as the most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean in a decade. Even in its weaker form as a tropical storm it inflicted loss.
Our prayers are with the Government and People of Haiti where the death toll has soared to more than 400 and where there is still not full recovery from the destructive earthquake of 2010.
We also express our prayers and concerns for The Bahamas – which still has not received the all-clear and which has been recovering from last year’s Hurricane Joaquin. We await a full assessment of the damage in The Bahamas, as well as in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where a young man lost his life when Matthew struck as a tropical storm.
Several other CTO member countries, including Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica and Saint Lucia have been impacted by the storm; and while we are thankful that there was no loss of life in those countries, we are conscious of the fact that they have suffered some level of damage. Still, we are thankful that life is getting back to normal in those countries and they are open for business.
For the worst affected countries the impact, both physical and psychological, will be long-lasting. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and to those who are grieving their loss, and we assure our support to those who are touched in one way or another.
It is evident that in the aftermath of the storm the immediate challenge is to alleviate suffering and provide the necessary support. In the days and weeks ahead we at the CTO and throughout our member countries in the Caribbean will work with our private sector partners the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and others, to do whatever is necessary to offer assistance and to coordinate relief efforts.
We have immense confidence in the strength and resolve of our people to prevail.