The telethon hosted by the Rotary Clubs of the BVI on September 10 in support of the people of The Bahamas was a huge success, and ended with the Clubs exceeding the minimum goal of $50,000 and then march on to a final figure of $138,000 in pledges.
The island nation of The Bahamas recorded an apocalyptic level of destruction and death when hurricane Dorian inexplicably spent two full days over the northern part of the archipelago earlier this month. Since then there has been a push to deliver help to many affected survivors. Here in the BVI the Rotary Clubs decided to band together to help.
During the telethon, which began before seven and ended around 10:00pm, the initiative was well supported. The panelists included a visiting Rotarian from the US Virgin Islands, and various BVI Rotarians. The guests of the evening included His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert, Acting Premier Hon. Vincent Wheatley as well as Permanent Secretary and former Director of the Department of Disaster Management Sharleen Dabreo.
At the start of the telethon Panelist Gerard StC Farara, QC announced that it was important for the BVI community to support the fundraising effort. He announced: “This is an important initiative, one which all of us in the BVI should give our support. Human tragedy knows no boundary in terms of geographical boundaries, in terms of national boundaries, in terms of political boundaries. Human tragedy touches all of us either in a personal way in terms of our families, and a national way in terms of our countries.”
He announced that the money raised will be going entirely towards providing assistance to the people that were affected by hurricane Dorian: “The funds raised here this evening will be channeled to the Rotary Clubs in the Bahamas for them to use 100 percent to assist persons in need. This is not a situation where persons or people would have an opportunity to divert any of these funds elsewhere or to impose certain operational costs, and incentives that would deplete the funds which are to be raised,” he said.
District Governor Delma Maduro said that Rotary was named by The Bahamas government as one of the organizations to be used internationally for donation and assistance. Additionally, she said that it was recommended by Rotarians on the ground that cash should be donated in the first instance.
Maduro also explained that from a logistics point of view cash was a better choice for the initial donation: “By giving cash it helps with some continuation of economic activity in the island,” she explained.
One of the highlights of the night was the telephone conversation with Barry Rassin, the former President of Rotary International who is a native of The Bahamas and visited the BVI during his tenure. Rassin said that he was touched by the manner in which the BVI was mobilizing to bring assistance and expressed his thanks to the people of the BVI for their generosity via a telephone call.
Meanwhile, Assistant Rotary Governor Lorna Smith stated: “We really want to help our neighbours, our friends, our brothers and sisters in The Bahamas. The only way we are going to help them is by giving generously.”