FIFA Vice President Jack Warner will leave with a five-man party on Sunday for Grenada on his first visit to the island following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan earlier this month.
The President of CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union has embarked on relief programme entitled “Aid Grenada” with assistance from FIFA, CONCACAF and the English Football Association to provide the necessary support to those affected on the island.
“We were shocked at the level of devastation caused in parts of the Caribbean by hurricane Ivan, particularly Grenada and what was more painful is that many of the CONCACAF members and world football leaders were there for the CONCACAF Congress earlier this year and therefore Grenada is known and remembered by all of them,” Warner said at his CONCACAF office, Port of Spain on Friday morning.
“They have all written expressing shock and have asked in what ways they can assist the island. The Chairman of the English FA Geoff Thompson has asked and I have requested that they help in three phases which they have agreed to,” Warner said.
Warner has since replied with requests for assistance in three phases, the first being the basics for human survival such as food and medical supplies as well as clothing. The second phase will involve the English FA using their offices to impress upon the English Premier League and other sponsors to provide other relief items and to stage fund raising events as auctioning of memorabilia and the hosting of all-star matches. Finally, the third phase will see officials of the English FA working directly with the Grenadian FA to get their house back in order.
Warner mentioned too that he has advised Thompson to mobilize the English football family, the various clubs and other relevant authorities to raise funds and the latter has expressed a major interest in doing so.
“Having spent such an enjoyable few days there at the CONCACAF Congress, it is upsetting to see such a beautiful island destroyed in this way and we will be willing to assist in anyway possible,” Thompson stated.
Apart from that, Warner’s direct assistance includes not only the provision of the generators but already two planes with food and medical supplies as well as other equipments valued at US$4,000 have been sent to the island and this will be an ongoing process every two weeks until deemed undesirable.
Warner leaves for Zurich on Monday where he will meet on Friday with the FIFA Finance Committee which has agreed that a request to provide humanitarian relief will be positively considered.
The TTFF special adviser, on behalf of CONCACAF, has also decided to fund the preparations of Grenada’s senior team for the first round of the Digicel Caribbean Cup which will be contested in T&T on November 24, 26 and 28 against Puerto Rico, Suriname/Guyana and the hosts. All their expenses will be taken care of and they will prepare for the tournament with a live-in camp in Trinidad. FIFA will be asked to provide gears for the Grenadian team. Furthermore, all funds from the three-day tournament will go towards the Grenada FA. This amount, through sponsorship as well as gate receipts is expected to amount to around US$60,000 and assistance will also go towards the rebuilding of their offices and library.
With the influx of financial and material assistance, Warner also though it wise to help the Government of Grenada in administering its programmes and as such Senator Roy Augustus, who is the Human Resource Manager at CONCACAF, will in the first instance be given one month leave with salary to work with Grenada’s Government, in particular, its Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell. Augustus will also write to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to ask for time off from the Senate in order to spend the one month in Grenada and such successive periods deemed necessary.