I greet you this morning with gratitude, not only because this territory has been spared any major damage from Tropical Storm Karen, but also because you have displayed enormous patience so far this season; diligently preparing and then waiting, waiting and waiting for these unusually slow moving systems to clear away from the Virgin Islands.
For this I say thank you.
Karen has now passed the area and the Tropical Storm Warning has been lifted.
Now on to the news you will all be wondering eagerly about: What to expect for today. So far we have seen that ground seas have led to debris along our coastal roadways. We have also seen some power outages in some areas. Based on the preparation done over the past few days and the efforts put in by the restoration crews last night and at daybreak, I believe that the remaining works can be completed quickly this morning.
Following consultation with the Premier and on the advice of the National Emergency Operations Centre, I give the All Clear now and formally deactivate the National Emergency Operations Centre.
I am therefore re-opening the public service at regular work hours. Similarly, school staff and students should report to their campuses at normal school hours.
Because there may be some changes to regular ferry operations and as a result of the current sea conditions, I am further advising that department heads should make time allowances for their staff who commute to and from the sister islands based on available ferry schedules.
As Karen moves away, we recognise that this particular system has displayed some erratic movement and there was very little certainty about her path. There is still the possibility that the weather conditions in the area will be unstable for a few more days as the system’s outer rain bands move away from the area.
Although Karen may be moving away, this does not mean that we can stop being ready. We continue to monitor a very active Atlantic Ocean. Please keep an eye on these conditions as we remain vigilant for the remainder of the Atlantic Hurricane Season which officially ends November 30th.
In closing, I again want to thank you all for doing your part to help the Territory achieve a consistent approach to managing hazard impacts and disasters which involves being cautious, caring, responsible and to always Be Ready.
May God continue to bless our beautiful Virgin Islands.