No one has ever described Boris Johnson as a “golden elephant”, although many in the Afro-Caribbean community may have thought of him as one...
We have not forgotten Clare Short’s response to the island of Montserrat making seemingly unreasonable demands; "they will want golden elephants next.”
Boris Johnson’s visit is too little too late. We have had poor preparation, poor response and very little credible reassurance that we will help to rebuild these economies in the future.
What have we learned so far? The Americans prepared for these disasters far better that we did: they carried out mass evacuations before the Hurricane hit and aid has been swift, thus reducing the loss of life and mobilising aid agencies swiftly and without the thought of the cost in the short term.
The French have had their President Macron visit and they have made a commitment to rebuild the economies on the affected islands. Macron notably said;
"I am here to talk about reconstruction. When such a thing happens, life is never the same again. I want to rebuild not just a new life but also a better life."
In the short term people need help. Our government’s response has been slow and if anything, appears overwhelmed by the situation. In the press we are seeing the government underplay the level of devastation. There needs to be a credible short emergency plan and work done with local governments to get these countries’ economies back on their feet, and as soon as possible.
We want our Prime Minister in the Caribbean showing real concern for the people out there, not running away as she did at the recent Grenfell Tower disaster. This is a British National Emergency and where is Theresa May?