JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), with responsibility for Project Implementation and Service Delivery, Daryl Vaz, has assured that the families of the 14 persons who died in the truck accident in the Rio Grande Valley, Portland, on December 19, would not be neglected in their time of bereavement.
He also emphasised that the Government would work closely with its agencies and non-Governmental organisations (NGOs), to ensure that the best care and protection are provided for the children they have left behind.
Mr. Vaz was speaking at a meeting with residents of Mill Bank and surrounding areas in Portland, on December 23.
Eight of the persons who died were residents of Mill Bank, while three were from Comfort Castle and three from Ginger House.
The State Minister pointed out that the Government would be underwriting the cost of the funerals for the 14 persons who died in the accident.
He said that a special team has been selected to work with the affected families in planning the funerals, and that all the funeral expenses would be handled through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Mr. Vaz noted that a special fund has been launched by the Government to take care of the welfare of the children of the dead persons, and that both the OPM and the Ministry of Agriculture have already contributed $500,000, each.
He also added that the Ministry of Education and the Child Development Agency have been requested to make a full assessment of the children’s living condition, in order to determine their needs.
At the same meeting, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said the Ministry feels a special attachment to the tragedy, as all the persons who died, were members of the farming community.
Expressing condolences to members of the affected families, Dr. Tufton said the adverse conditions under which farmers are forced to operate, sometimes place them at great risk, and presented them with strong challenges.
He said one of the developments which should result from the tragedy, is the putting in place of appropriate infrastructure, which would enable farmers to transport their produce, without having to encounter the risks with which they are presently confronted.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that in addition to the money contributed by the Ministry, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), would be embarking on a number of initiatives, aimed at providing additional help for the relatives of the victims, to enable them to overcome any difficulties which might arise from the tragedy.

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