St Vincentian citizen Kwesi Lockheart is both awed and terrified by the explosive eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano.
Lockheart was born in St Vincent but spent his formative years in Enterprise Trinidad before returning home as an adult.
He is a certified technician but when St Vincent and the Grenadines opened a new airport several years ago, he decided to become a tour operator. He purchased a seven-seater taxi and has become known for his lively tours across the island.
But COVID-19 has greatly impacted his livelihood as cruise ships have stopped coming to the island.
Now, with the La Soufriere eruptions, Lockheart’s business has faltered even more.
He explained the hardship facing most citizens in an interview with Guardian Media.
“Being a tour operator we have been getting a lot of licks because of COVID, because no cruise ships are coming right now and the volcano is one of the main attractions,” he said.
Lockheart said the effects of the volcanic ash blanketing the island has also greatly affected citizens.
“It is really frustrating at times with the ash especially where I am living the ash is causing a problem but it is actually Gods work and it has to continue until whenever it is time to stop,” Lockheart said.
He said he lives in the Green Zone so he does not need to evacuate but he is still affected.
“Currently we are out of water because the water is contaminated from the ash. If people has asthma or other problems, they find it difficult to breathe because you have to be always inside.”
Lockheart said he has been told this experience is far worst than the one in 1979.
“On one hand it’s a great experience to be living through a volcanic eruption and on the other hand it’s frightening because you don’t know what is going to happen next, you have to wait and see if it stops or if it continues.”
Like his Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonzales, Lockheart remains optimistic that the island will recover from La Soufriere’s 2021 eruptions.
“Hopefully when this all blows over, it will bring something nice. But at the end of the day we will be affected in the long haul because it will take time to get back to where it used to be,” he said.