JIS News

Government has finalized plans for the funeral services of the 14 persons who lost their lives in the December 19, Rio Grande Valley tragedy in Portland.
Minister of State for Project Implementation in the Office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz, says autopsies have been completed for all 14 victims and the funeral dates have been finalized. (See attached document)
He said funeral services for the 14 will take place between January 15-25, with one service scheduled for January 15, another one for January 17, while five of the victims will be buried on January 18, and the remaining seven will be buried on January 25.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding will be among the government representatives attending the January 25th funeral service for the seven community members of Mill Bank, the community which suffered the greatest loss in the tragedy.
Mr. Vaz said representatives of the government and related agencies will also be meeting with the Portland Parish Council next week Wednesday (January 14) to discuss on-going assistance for the surviving children of the 14 persons who lost their lives in the December 19 Portland tragedy.
Mr. Vaz says that meeting will be attended by representatives of the Child Development Agency, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, along with the Parish Council. The meeting will be hearing recommendations from the various agencies as to how best to provide for the children who lost their parents in the accident.
Mr. Vaz noted that to date government has fulfilled all its commitment to the families of the tragedy by underwriting the costs of the funerals and providing a cash grant of $25,000 to each of the families to go towards the costs of other preparations.
‘We are also taking care of those who received injuries in the accident by providing a further allocation of a $20,000 cash grant to each of the injured, Mr. Vaz disclosed. He noted that this allocation was being granted to underwrite the costs of prescription drugs and other financial needs.
Mr. Vaz expressed government’s gratitude for the continued support it has been receiving from donors and private sector companies, to the Portland tragedy fund set up with NCB. The contributions to the fund now stand at $3.3-million and the Minister is appealing to the public to continue to make their contributions to the fund. Donations can be sent to the NCB Current Account # 351 077 328.