Working Together to Be Ready and Stay Ready
Greetings to all the residents and visitors of the Virgin Islands.
As the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season gets underway, I would like to join the Premier, the Department of Disaster Management and our regional partners in encouraging the people of the Virgin Islands to Work Together to Be Ready and Stay Ready for storms and other hazards.
Forecasters tell us that 2021 is likely to be another active hurricane season. Indeed, before the official start of the season on June 1, Tropical Storm Ana had already formed and dissipated. As all too many of us know and have witnessed first-hand, just one impact on our Territory can be devastating. This fact should remind us all to make every effort to prepare at home and in our community.
As Governor, my primary concern is to maintain the safety and security of our Territory, and this remains especially true during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Preparedness efforts have been underway for some time among the members of the National Security Council. In addition to updating their emergency operations plans and ensuring that the Territory’s security assets remain safeguarded; the Territory’s police and fire officers in particular are standing by to respond rapidly if needed.
Elsewhere in the Public Service, ministries, departments and statutory bodies are carrying out their annual readiness assessments to ensure they are ready to continue to serve the people of the Virgin Islands throughout the hurricane season. These efforts are guided by the National Disaster Management Council, which sets the territorial preparedness priorities each year in accordance with the Disaster Management Act.
As a Territory, we must plan for the possibility of a disaster that we could not face on our own. Like other Caribbean territories, the Virgin Islands stand to benefit from the support of the United Kingdom in the form of two naval support ships this hurricane season. One is in Caribbean waters year round, and the other is here for the hurricane season. Both ships stand ready to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief should we see a major impact such as a hurricane, earthquake or flood.
I applaud the work that has been undertaken so far, and I urge those in the private sector to follow suit in considering how they can best protect their staff and properties before, during and after an emergency. At minimum, each business should have an updated contingency plan, a kit of essential supplies and a strategy for how to protect property should it appear that a storm is on its way. Carrying out these essential measures would ease the transition back to business after an emergency.
In closing, I of course hope that we do not face a major storm or other hazard impact this hurricane season, but I also know that by continuing to Work Together to Be Ready and Stay Ready, we will face what may come with strength and resilience.