Good day to one and all in the Virgin Islands.
Today, the 1st of June, marks the Atlantic Hurricane Season and for the seventh consecutive year, forecasters advise that this season will bring above average levels of storm activity to the region. We therefore must all play our part to be as prepared as possible.
As Governor, my priority is and always will be the safety of the Virgin Islands and its people.
While members of our National Disaster Management Council work collaboratively to ensure that their emergency operations plans are ready; now is the time for all of us to do the same.
I am sensitive to the fact that for many in the Territory, COVID and recent events may make it more difficult to devote the required time and effort to plan and prepare for a possible storm impact. However, these tasks need not be taken on your own. I join the Premier, Department of Disaster Management and partners in the region in encouraging the people of the Virgin Islands to work together and do their part: Together We Can Be Ready for storms and other hazards.
So please, speak to your colleagues, friends, and neighbours about how you can work together to protect each other before, during and after an emergency.
I also urge each business and family to update their emergency plan, have a kit of essential supplies and have a strategy for how to protect your property in face of a storm and I encourage everyone to visit the DDM website to find out more information on these essential steps which could save lives during and after an emergency.
In the spirit of working together, the Public Service is carrying out its annual readiness assessments to make sure that each Government ministry, department and statutory body can continue to provide the essential services you need throughout the hurricane season. This year, in an effort to minimise any gaps in access to food, shelter, fuel, building materials and communications service, businesses from those critical areas of the private sector have been invited to join the readiness assessment exercise. The Department of Disaster Manager is providing technical support and guidance to those businesses to help to improve their emergency operations and contingency plans. I applaud these mutual collaborations.
Working together to be ready also extends beyond our shores. I’m pleased that regional and international partners including the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, (CDEMA), have reiterated their commitment to provide their support if we should face a storm, flood, or other impact that we cannot overcome on our own.
The last few years have not been easy on the Virgin Islands, but I hope and pray that the storm season will pass without too many challenges. Should a major impact strike here, however, I have faith that the work that we’ve carried out together to prepare for hurricane season and the resilience of the people of the BVI here will help to see us through to safety.
View the video version of this message at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7krhL82umDE