BVI premier calls on UK for ongoing support after hurricanes

LONDON, England — Premier and minister of finance Dr Orlando Smith was in the United Kingdom last week discussing the British Virgin Islands’ recovery effort with senior UK government ministers following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

This came as donor countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreed to work on a process that could allow previous aid recipients to receive short-term Official Development Assistance (ODA) support in the event of catastrophic humanitarian crises, such the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean.

Smith outlined the BVI’s plans for reconstruction of the territory in positive high-level talks with the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel.

The secretary of state announced that the UK had secured progress for changes to aid rules and agreed to work on a process which could allow previous aid recipients such as the BVI to receive short-term support in the event of future catastrophic humanitarian crises.

The premier said, “We are grateful for the UK government’s ongoing commitment to help us repair and rebuild after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. I expressed my thanks to the secretary of state for the effectiveness of the UK’s initial response and stressed the importance to the BVI of receiving continued support as we reconstruct.”

The premier, who was the only head of government from a UK Overseas Territory present, briefed the House of Commons International Development Select Committee about the impacts of Hurricane Irma on the BVI and the long-term prospects for the territory.

He added, “It is heart-warming to see the ongoing interest in the BVI’s future after Irma and Maria among UK politicians from all parties.

“We are now focused on creating a sustainable strategy for recovery for the BVI and securing our economy and our livelihoods. My teams in the BVI and London have worked very hard to make our case in the UK for support for our recovery and reconstruction for which I thank them.”