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SVG DRIP launches with appeal for Vincentians overseas to donate PPE

SVG DRIP launches with appeal for Vincentians overseas to donate PPE
Sherrill-Ann Mason

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Vincentian organisations around the world have merged efforts to provide relief to their home country in times of crisis.

One of the first ventures of this initiative will be to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in St Vincent and the Grenadines, who are on the frontlines of the fight against the COVID19 pandemic.

SVG DRIP launches with appeal for Vincentians overseas to donate PPE
Ambassador Lou-Anne Gilchrist

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Disaster Relief Initiative Platform (SVG DRIP) held its official virtual launch on Saturday, February 20, during which representatives from various organisations in the Diaspora expressed support for the new initiative.

“Today, as SVG faces its darkest hours, we are coming to you to ask for your support in securing needed PPE for the masses of Vincentians and our dedicated healthcare professionals,” Sherrill-Ann Mason, the coordinator of SVG DRIP said.

Mason, who is also the chairperson of the SVG Diaspora of New York, said SVG DRIP provides a platform that will leverage the virtual space to bring Vincentians together to provide assistance to SVG both before and after a disaster or crisis, much like the COVID-19 pandemic, dengue fever outbreak and the ongoing effusive volcanic eruption at La Soufriere.

SVG DRIP’s coordinator said she has been working in the last month to build connections with “the most energetic, creative and patriotic” Vincentians and groups in the Diaspora to create the global platform.

To date, connections have been made with groups in the United Kingdom, USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

Lou-Anne Gilchrist, the ambassador of SVG to the United States and High Commissioner to Canada delivered brief remarks at this weekend’s launch.

“It’s a manifestation in which the pooling of resources, collective expertise in an atmosphere of cooperation can redound to the benefit of our blessed home country, through the provision of personal protective equipment,” Gilchrist said of the organisation’s first venture.

The ambassador noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of millions everywhere.

And she commended the various Diaspora groups for coming together in a show of love, generosity and support to assist their fellow Vincentians at home.

Dr Jose Davy, infectious disease specialist and infection control officer at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital encouraged Vincentians abroad to join SVG DRIP’s initiative to help SVG.

In her remarks, Davy said the pandemic has taught everyone that infectious diseases “are only a corner away”.

She added that healthcare workers are risking their lives daily to serve the population, which includes loved ones.

“The availability and proper use of personal protective equipment is essential in execution of our duties while keeping us protected…we are counting on your generous donations of masks, gloves, gowns, face shields, boots and shoe covers. We are here for you and your families. Help us to help you,” Davy said.

Brief remarks were also delivered at Saturday’s launch by representatives of various participating organisations.

Deiana Stapleton of the SVG National Council in the UK; Hayden Jones of CARION (Conducting Active Relief Impacting Our Nation) in Canada; Ivo DeShong, of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Central Florida Organisation and Atiba Williams of SVG Inc in New York all encouraged Vincentians in the Diaspora to support the efforts of SVG DRIP.

“Through the use of a purchase link on Amazon, you can safely support the efforts from the comforts of your homes. This link will be posted on the Facebook and Instagram pages of SVG DRIP. We encourage you to like and share,” Mason said in her remarks.

Persons interested in contributing to the efforts of SVG DRIP can find more information on the organisation’s Facebook page; SVG DRIP or on Instagram, @svg.drip