JIS News

Members of the Senate extended their sympathies and condolences to Haiti, in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake that devastated that nation, during its sitting at Gordon House in Kingston on Friday (January 22).
Leader of Government Business, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, described the incident as “one of the darkest periods” in Haiti’s history.
She said that members of the Senate joined together in expressing their “sincere” sympathy to the people of Haiti, on the loss of life and the destruction caused by the earthquake.
“Hardship and tribulation are not new to the Haitians. They have suffered, as you know, decades of political unrest, a dying economy and a series of hurricanes, but the earthquake, I don’t think any of us could ever imagine,” Senator Lightbourne empathised.
“We’ve seen the pictures and we’ve heard the reports of the horror that the Haitians are living in at this time. Many of us here felt the aftershock, and so we are well aware that this disaster could easily have been ours,” she added.
Senator Lightbourne said, however, that there was much to be thankful for, as there have also been miracles in the rescue of persons trapped for days in collapsed buildings. She also commended Jamaica’s response.
“I’m proud of my fellow Jamaican citizens for the love and support that they have extended to the Haitians because, notwithstanding our own hardships, we have given generously of supplies, clothes, food, money, as needs have been expressed. The Jamaican Government, too, responded quickly to the crisis,” she said.
She described the international community’s response as a “coming together, almost as if we are one world.”
“I wish we could co-operate like this, at all times and, perhaps, this is the start of the world coming together as one. I urge Jamaicans to continue to support our leaders in this venture,” she suggested.
Opposition Senator, Sandrea Falconer, said there was no doubt that the Haitian earthquake was the greatest natural disaster that has happened in this region. She added that what has happened in the aftermath is the unfolding of a great human tragedy.
“We, in Jamaica, must do whatever we can. We know we have our own constraints here because of our economic circumstances but when a brother or a sister is in need, our neighbours are in need, we must pitch in and help as much as we can,” she commented.
Senator Falconer commended the quick response and continuing efforts of the Jamaican Government in providing relief, pointing out that the administration is supported by the Opposition, as well as the Jamaican public.
“We know that the recovery is going to be long and hard, they are going to need our love and support as they rebuild. In all of this, let us pray that, as they pick up the pieces and emerge from the destruction, a new Haiti will be born with economic prosperity and a better way of life for its people,” Senator Falconer said.
President of the Senate the Hon. Oswald Harding, endorsed the view that “Haiti will rise, like the Phoenix, and there will be a completely new Haiti.”