By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 6, 2018 – Five months after hurricanes Irma and Maria caused “minimal damage” to St. Kitts and Nevis and four months before the official start of the 2018 Hurricane Season, most of the 350 National Housing Corporation (NHC)-built homes damaged by the storms still have tarpaulins covering their roofs.
Scores of homeowners are of the view that the Government of Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris and his Minister of Housing Hon. Eugene Hamilton “just do not care,” “waiting until it’s close to election to mamaguy us,” or “has totally forgotten us.”
Days after Dr. Harris said Hurricane Irma caused “minimal damage,” the CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) announced it made a payment of US$2,294,603 or EC$ 6,195,000 to Prime Minister Harris and his Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government announced the establishment of the Hurricane Relief Fund and stated weeks later that income from the Fund “is already helping people recover from the effects of last September’s hurricanes.”
Government said proceeds will go towards damage to agriculture, roads and buildings that were affected by the natural disasters.
On January 8, 2018, St. Kitts and Nevis’ post-hurricane recovery efforts were boosted when Prime Minister Harris accepted a financial contribution of US$300,000 on behalf of the Government from the Non-Resident Ambassador of the State of Qatar to St. Kitts and Nevis His Excellency Khamis Al-Sahouti during a courtesy call.
“We are being given all kinds of promises and excuses.” “We have filled out forms. we have gone to NHC.” “There appears to be no real effort by Dr. Harris and Mr. (Eugene) Hamilton to help us,” said several NHC homeowners.
“Sometimes we get wet as over the months, high winds and wear and tear have weakened the covers,” an individual said.
“What are they doing with all that financial help they received,” said another person.