Speech On Hurricane Tomas
Fellow Saint Lucians, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The events of October 30 – 31 have left some of us deeply traumatized, some bereaved, but all of us deeply shaken and saddened. To all those who mourn the loss of family and friends from this terrible disaster, I wish to express my deepest condolences. Words alone cannot adequately express my sorrow, distress and concern for all who lost homes and means of livelihood, who suffered damage to property, assets and hard-earned belongings. Inadequate as these words are, I want to let you know that you are on my mind. We have all been affected in one way or other ; few of us have been spared, but you will permit me to make special mention of our brothers and sisters in the Soufriere area who by all accounts seemed to have borne the wrath of this terrible hurricane. You will recall St. Paul’s analogy of the body in his letter to the Corinthians when he spoke of the relationship that must exist among members of the same body. He put it this way : Ïf one part is hurt, all parts are hurt with it. If one part is given special honour, all parts enjoy it.” This is why we hurt and feel the pain of the people of Soufriere, and of all the people along the length and breadth of our country who have been touched by this natural national disaster.
In the midst of all this gloom of pain and sadness, I saw the bright rays of a light that I thought that had gone out among us as I visited some of the affected areas : the spirit of community and concern for neighbor, the “Koudmen” spirit that had long characterised us as a nation. I should therefore like to express my sincerest thanks to all those who came out to help in the rescue and recovery effort. Those who have been working night and day to clear the roadways and passage-ways, the Public Utilities Companies, the Churches and service organizations ; the media houses ; the business community ; the volunteers ; the clean-up crews all over the island. This special honour, these accolades that they now receive, we all enjoy because they speak to what we are as a nation, to whom we are as a people. I would like to say a special word of thanks as well to all the friendly overseas governments and agencies who have responded so quickly to our pleas for help and assistance. To the Saint Lucian community in the diaspora who had not so long ago celebrated with us in our inaugural Homecoming, I thank you for your concern which poured in over the airways and your many offers of help. As we complete the first stage of our recovery effort, I am sure that proper arrangements will be made to co-ordinate reception of your offers of assistance.
Patience is the approach, the attitude, the mind-set that we are all called on to exercise during this difficult time. Let us all continue to work together to re-build our communities and our country. My thoughts and prayers will be with each and every one of you, as we undertake this demanding task.
Mòso mové tan sala ki ban nou lavolé sala simenn pasè-a soukwè péyi-a, i soukwé lafwa-nou. I mennen nou asou jounou-nou. I afekté nou tout, tout oliwon pèyi-a. Mé lanmò pasé an wèt Soufwiyè. A koś di sa mwen ka pwezanté tout kondoléans mwen bay tout fanmi sé moun-lan ki pèd lavy-yo-a, bay tout se moun-lan an se konminotè-a kotè yo tè ka wété-a. Mwen ka mandé Bondyè pou bay yo lafoś èk kouway, pou souladjè tjè-yo. Lapenn-yo sé lapenn-nou. Soufwans ou sè soufwans nou tout.
Mwen ka wimèsyé tout moun ki mété lanmen pou endé situasyon téwib-sala. Annou kontiné sipoté yonnalòt an go twakasman sala. Pa lavé lanmen-nou épi swiyé’y atè. Annou tjenn péyi-a ansanm èk twavay pou viwé établi’y pou bénéfis nou tout.
Thank you immensely, Ladies and Gentlemen
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