ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The first of three Amerijet cargo planes, with over 120,000 pounds of hurricane relief for Barbuda arrived on Antigua on Friday from Miami.
Consul general for Antigua and Barbuda in Miami, Gilbert Boustany, who arranged the shipment of items that included water, plywood, nails, lanterns, flashlights, cots, fans, tarpaulin and can foods, said that the items were sourced with funds secured by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and the generous contributions of Martin Franklyn and Coleman (The Outdoor Company) in the United States.
“With the kind assistance of our partners and Amerijet, we secured the items in two days from Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; Phoenix, Arizona; and the Mid-West of the United States, as no hurricane relief items were available in Miami due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Irma,” Boustany noted.
He said that the first Amerijet aircraft also included generators, single stove tops, and can foods to include sardines, tuna, milk-powder and crackers.
“The other two planes will arrive in Antigua next week and will carry over 145,000 pounds each of similar items for the relief effort of persons from the sister island which was devastated by Hurricane Irma,” he added.
Arrival of hurricane relief items for Barbuda at the V.C. Bird International Airport. Photos: Maurice Merchant
The government on Friday issued a mandatory evacuation order for Barbuda upon learning that a second storm, Jose was taking the same path as Hurricane Irma and was likely to strike Barbuda.
“We are thankful that Ambassador Boustany was able to mobilize so quickly and get these much-needed items into Antigua. We commend him for the dedication he has attached to this project and extend our thanks to Amerijet’s management and staff in Miami for working around the clock to ensure that the aircraft with the supplies arrive here before the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Miami,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated.
Boustany was also high in his praise for the assistance provided by Amerijet and pointed out that without their support the items would not have arrived on time on Antigua. He also thanked Prime Minister Chastanet of Saint Lucia for his assistance in helping to arrange for plywood and other lumber to be procured in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
Boustany also revealed that he has secured several hundred cases of water, batteries, lanterns and flashlights for Antiguans and Barbudans living in Miami.
A warehouse has been secured in Miami for the receipt and storage of items for the Barbuda Hurricane Relief effort.