"Some say that Ivan had the devil in him," Bishop
Vincent Darius said jokingly, as he reflected on just what
had happened to Grenada in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
He was sitting on the verandah of his own house, at the
time speaking to the CCC's, Special Assistant to the General
Secretary, Ecumenical Relations and Theological Affairs,
Rev. Dr. Knolly Clarke.
Rev. Clarke who was in Grenada for a solidarity visit on
behalf of the Caribbean Conference of Churches, CCC, was
accompanied by Adanna James Communications Programme Assistant.
He brought greetings from the General Secretary, Mr. Gerard
Granado who was unable to be in Grenada that day.
In his greetings, Mr. Granado said that "at
a time of such crisis and sheer disaster we must extend
whatever help we can, as individuals, as corporate citizens,
as groups, as people of a wider Caribbean society,
lest we let the ravages of hopelessness seep in and destroy
the spirit of the people."
He added that: "the CCC
will continue to talk with and accompany its constituency
and wider community in Grenada so that all that is physically,
emotionally and spiritually broken as a result of this
hurricane can be healed."
The visit itself lasted for roughly one hour, during which
time Rev. Clarke attempted to find out what the basic needs
were for the churches and the wider community.
Rev. Clarke told the Bishop that while he acknowledged the
very basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, he noted
that other groups were forthcoming with such items, and that
it was up to the Churches to provide something different.
Rev. Clarke indicated that the CCC would like to focus on
Post Traumatic Stress Counseling. He further identified persons
who were willing to work alongside the CCC to assist persons
living in Grenada in dealing with the effects of such a traumatic
experience. He observed that several of the CCC's longstanding
partner agencies had already contacted the CCC, to collaborate
on whatever initiatives CCC would be spearheading.
Bishop Darius agreed that there was a need for such counseling
as Grenada 's devastation and the trauma of the Hurricane
were affecting everyone, both old and young. He also spoke
of trying to establish makeshift centres to provide persons
with the opportunity to seek that kind of assistance.
Bishop Darius also addressed the issue of the education
of Grenadian students, especially those who would be writing
CXC and Advanced Level exams next year. While the Grenadian
government announced plans to get schools up and running
by January next year, the Bishop said that he would be working
with other denominations in trying to assemble students especially
those writing exams, from the various schools in one particular
area. But he acknowledged this task would be great especially
since many teachers may consider migrating in the wake of
Rev. Clarke observed that already parents were considering
sending their children to other territories including Trinidad
and Barbados .
Regarding Church services, the Bishop lamented that he was
unable to have mass in the Cathedral this weekend since only
the walls remained standing in the century old St George's
Cathedral, but he said that other churches were able to conduct
masses. He however observed that attendance was low. One
of the factors contributing to this was the need for persons
to remain at home to protect their goods from looters. As
a result the Christian Churches got together to have an ecumenical
service which they conducted over the airwaves of the lone
radio station operating at the time, the Grenada Broadcasting
The gravity of the situation in Grenada was brought home
to us when just before our departure, supplies arrived at
the Bishop's home, escorted by the police. He told us that
the armed police escort was the only guarantee that supplies
would arrive to him, since looters were reportedly hijacking
vehicles that were transporting goods.
While the Bishop could not, during his short visit fully
verbalize what the churches and wider Grenadian community
would need at the time, he said that he would outline in
order of priority the needs of his community by next week,
at which time he would have a better idea of where he could
"But where do I begin?" he asked.
The Bishop lamented on his own experience of loss. He showed
us his bedroom where the roof was no more, as a result
flooding out his personal belongings. He then carried us
to his windows, where he joked Ivan did his own bit of
artistry with the iron burglarproofing. He then showed
us his front door, which was ripped away by fierce winds
and flung outside, causing his home to be turned into a
He showed us the schools just surrounding him, among them
the Anglican High School , which was almost completely in
Carl Haynes, a Grenadian studying
in Trinidad who was with him at the time said to us, upon
reflection, "they say you
cannot see wind, well I saw the wind." The Bishop continued
by showing us the sea. He said "I stood there for a while
trying to figure out what this white cloud coming towards
us was.." "..only to realize that the winds were just picking
up the sea as it was approaching."
"This was not just a hurricane," he
The very weary Bishop said he was ever grateful for the
show of support from the CCC, and would be liasing with the
organization to see what the next move for the Churches in
Grenada would be. He said, however, that what was most important
right now was just to get the message of hope across to all
of Grenada .