We are a resilient people but this has shaken us to our core – BVI Premier

BVI_IRMA_Damage

Statement by Premier of the British Virgin Islands Dr. Orlando Smith, Sunday 10 September, following the passage of Hurricane Irma.

“The world is now aware of the destruction caused in the BVI by Hurricane Irma, a record category 5 hurricane. Like all of us, I am heartbroken by the loss of homes and businesses but above all the loss of life the hurricane has brought.We are a resilient people but this has shaken us to our core.

However, I want to reassure people that whilst the situation across our islands is critical and will remain so in the coming weeks, firm steps have been taken to alleviate some of the immediate pressures. The arrival of the RFA Mounts Bay together with air support has brought in significant assistance from the UK including marines and engineers as well as medical support, food and other supplies. This means we can start the process of getting the territory secured; assess how to bring power and water back online and improve access and communications to the BVI.

Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
While the immediate focus is on these humanitarian needs we will also turn attention to our economy. The damage to the territory has been widespread but it has not been total. Some offices belonging to the business and finance sector survived as did the Financial Services Commission which houses other services such as the corporate registryWe have already started working with the private sector to ensure the business and financial services sector is able to function in good time. Many overseas offices have come together to support the BVI and work out the best way of continuing to provide vital business services remotely until the BVI is in a position to bring them substantively back on Island. We are incredibly grateful for the contribution they are making and the efforts being made to help this part of the BVI economy get back on its feet.

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CDEMA steps up Hurricane Relief Effort

caricom flagRelief efforts for the countries affected by Hurricane Irma in the eastern Caribbean have been stepped up following the passage of Hurricane Jose out of the area.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) advance team,  is operating out of its staging post in Antigua, which was largely unaffected by the hurricanes.

The advance team, consisting of the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU), Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT), CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST), and the CARICOM Disaster Assessment Coordination team, have been deployed to the British Virgin Islands cdema-tradewinds2and Anguilla, having been into Barbuda late last week. Barbuda, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands suffered serious damage by Hurricane Irma. CDEMA’s Rapid Assessment team, from its staging post in Jamaica, is scheduled to arrive in the Turks and Caicos Islands later today, Sunday 10 September. The Agency has also been in contact with Haiti which has also suffered damage during the passage of Hurricane Irma.

Latest information from the Governor of the British Virgin Islands indicates that five people have been confirmed dead.  Barbuda, Anguilla and Haiti each suffered one fatality. Eleven deaths have also been reported in the French territories of St Barthelemy and St Martin as well as the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten.

CARICOM Heads of Government meet on Hurricane situation

Heads1Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met in special emergency session today, Saturday 10 September to receive an update on the effects of the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Jose on the Region and progress on the co-ordinated response to provide relief for those affected.

The meeting, presided over by CARICOM Chairman, Dr the Rt Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, received a full briefing on the situation from representatives of the affected countries, the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA), the Community’s lead agency for disaster response, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and regional institutions.

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and Chef-de-Cabinet Charmaine Atkinson-Jordan at the meeting

Premier of the British Virgin Islands, (BVI) the Honourable Dr Orlando Smith, the Prime Minister of The Bahamas the Honourable Dr Hubert Minnis, the Foreign Minister of Haiti, the Honourable Antonio Rodrigues and a representative of the Turks and Caicos Government provided the latest information on their countries. Prime Minister of Dominica, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerritt provided information on the situation on the island of St Maarten where a significant number of CARICOM nationals are currently located and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Allen Chastenet alerted the meeting to the situation in St Kitts and Nevis. (more…)