The U.S. government is providing financial assistance and technical support to multiple Caribbean nations fighting COVID-19.
Assistance ranges from distribution of medical or protective equipment to support for programs in which young leaders engage students while schools are closed.
The U.S. Department of Defense has delivered thousands of face shields, gloves and protective suits to national disaster offices in eastern Caribbean countries with support from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
The U.S. Embassy donated $20,000 worth of medical supplies from the Rhode Island National Guard State Partnership Program to the Bahamas. Donations included airway pressure machines and conversion kits that turn the machines into ventilators to help patients suffering from COVID-19.
The U.S. Embassy in Barbados, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, supported UNICEF to partner with 72 local radio programs in the eastern and southern Caribbean to broadcast health prevention measures. The embassy and UNICEF worked with education officials to implement safe health protocols and delivered sanitizers and equipment to schools and youth centers.
Andre Pitts, an alumnus of the 2017 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, launched COVID-19 Watch in Belize. The show, broadcast on television and online, reaches 40,000 people with information about the virus and includes appearances by government officials and health experts.
Fundashon Venex, a nonprofit foundation, used a $12,000 grant from Spirit of America — a nonprofit foundation that provides supplies to nations where U.S. forces are stationed — and support from the U.S. Consulate General in Curacao to purchase food for vulnerable populations, including Venezuelans displaced by the humanitarian crisis in their country. The food fed 500 people for several weeks.
“It’s our duty to support the most vulnerable in the community and an honor to have participated in the donation of food to about 200 families of the Venezuelan community and others on Curacao,” said Consul General Allen Greenberg.
The U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic joined with the Fashion for Inclusion Foundation and the Dominican Association of Fashion Designers to supply more than 12,000 pieces of medical protection to hospitals. Local fashion workers made the equipment at home. Six former scholars with U.S. government programs handled distribution of sheets, hats, pajamas and surgical boots to the National Health Service.
In Guyana, the United States has provided over $1 million to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Guyana will also benefit from a $1.7 million regional fund for the eastern and southern Caribbean. In addition, the U.S. Embassy Humanitarian Assistance Program supplied cleaning supplies, N95 masks and infrared no-touch thermometers to the Civil Defence Commission and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
After schools closed in Trinidad and Tobago because of COVID-19, three members of the 2019 Trinidad and Tobago Youth Ambassadors program offered online tutoring sessions for free. Using connections they made during their program, the students built a network of 30 tutors from several countries to help 4,000 students in the Caribbean maintain their academic performance over the remainder of the school year.