Virgin Islanders and residents, thank you for joining me today on my daily brief. These briefs give me the opportunity to speak directly to you the people of the Virgin Islands on ways our Government is moving swiftly to get the Virgin Islands back to normalcy, following the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Today I am energised as I see many residents are also busy trying to get their lives back on track, clean up our communities and start the process of rebuilding the Virgin Islands.
I have gotten many inquiries for an update on our Sister Islands. As I mentioned before, Virgin Gorda with the support of private individuals and businesses have organised that community in a model way to get assistance to those that need it most and address immediate concerns for residents. Food and water supplies are being delivered directly to that island. While communication is a challenge throughout all of our islands, the National Emergency Operations Centre receives and responds to needs and requests for Virgin Gorda.
Anegada have had food and water delivered to that island and are also are receiving supplies directly from Puerto Rico. Some parts of the island have electricity and therefore residents do have access to potable water. Ferry service has also resumed and I understand that Anegadians are already preparing themselves to physically rebuild and are in the process of acquiring supplies to do this.
The Jost Van Dyke community has banned together to ensure supplies are disseminated throughout the community as they are received from Tortola. While we still manage the new reality all of us find ourselves in post Hurricane Irma, I will continue to ask all residents to be supportive of agencies coordinating relief efforts as well as generally to each other so that we can come through this moment together, and stronger.
Again I must acknowledge the work of all district representatives in tending to the needs of their constituents and working with the National Emergency Operations Centre as they coordinate relief efforts.
Today Peebles Hospital staff began conversations with counterparts in Puerto Rico to bring some relief to the hospital’s resources and the details are being worked out to transfer some patients to Puerto Rico. At present, the hospital continues to function, tending to patients and supplying those in need of medication.
Due to the rains this morning, I have rescheduled my business meetings with the 1st District and Cane Garden Bay communities for Monday, September 18. At 11AM I look forward to speaking with 1st District business owners at the Carrot Bay Methodist Church and then at 1PM I will be speaking with business owners from the Cane Garden Bay and surrounding areas. For the Virgin Gorda community, I will again be visiting on Tuesday, September 19 and will like to speak with business owners at 10AM at the Government’s Administration Complex on that island.
Those businesses that have started cleaning are providing hope for our community and demonstrating the resilience of our people. Port Purcell has reopened and residents and businesses are encouraged to start the rebuild of our community.
On Monday, I have asked all Government Ministers to give a full update to the community via a press conference, on matters relating to their portfolios and what they are doing to immediately support our response and recovery. We hope to have that press conference live on ZBVI, 780AM and JTV Live via Facebook. We will continue to find opportunities to ensure Virgin Islanders and residents inside and outside of the Virgin Islands remain informed of our plans to get the Territory back to some state of normalcy and begin the rebuilding process.
I am again appealing to our communities, homeowners, renters, businesses and our service organisations to come out over the weekend and let us all continue to clean up our neighbourhoods. I commend communities that have swiftly come together and assisted the Department of Waste Management in clearing roadways and organising the debris so that we can start to see our way out of Irma’s devastation and begin to feel like ourselves again.
The resiliency of the Virgin Islands continues to be tested and I urge us all to prepare for the road ahead as we rebuild our Territory. The strength and community spirit that has been shown over the past week and days gives me great hope as we consider how our future will unfold. As many might have had quiet moments to consider what we all just came through, let us all resolve, to remain BVI Strong. May God bless us all.
Issued: Friday September 15, 2017