The one month anniversary since the passage of the nefarious hurricane Irma was marked with a brief ceremony that featured prayers and thanksgiving on Friday 6 October, at the Queen Elizabeth II Park.
Residents and members of the assisting militaries gathered and sung gospel music in unison as all reflected on the destruction the murderous category five hurricane. The ceremony which lasted a little of over 60 minutes also included a brief sermon from Bishop Ishmael Charles.
Governor Augustus Jaspert explained that part of the purpose of the event was to recognize those persons that were sadly lost as a result of the hurricane and to reflect on the suffering we face, and to also give thanks for spared lives.
In his remarks Governor Jaspert stated that he was impressed by the resilience and the cooperation of the BVI residents in the recovery efforts: “I have been astounded by the strength and the resilience of communities across the Territory. I have seen in every community I have visited how people have helped each other. We have shown the world that the British Virgin Islands are not just paradise because of the beautiful scenery but a paradise because of the amazing people,” Governor Jaspert said.
During the ceremony a moment of silence was observed in remembrance of the four persons who lost their lives when Hurricane Irma pummeled the BVI on 6 September. Those identified as dead are Charles Thomas, Derek Ragnauth, and popular BVI coach Xavier ‘Dag’ Samuels.
Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe announced that the three named persons and the one unidentified individual are the ones Government knows of: “Those are the ones we can account for who died during hurricane Irma. Post hurricane Irma we have had quite a number of deaths as well. So we also at this time pause to remember those family members.”
On the other hand, Premier Dr. the Hon. D Orlando Smith remarked that he is thankful that the death toll is not higher as a result of Irma. “We must say that we are thankful that there was only [four]deaths due this hurricane. We must be very thankful to God for sparing all the rest of us. Even as we offer condolences and deep sympathy for those who have lost their loved ones, God has been good to us, and we’re here to give thanks for his goodness,” the BVI Leader announced.
Kudos for Governor Jaspert
Governor Jaspert’s leadership prior and after hurricane Irma was praised by Minister for Education and Culture Myron Walwyn. The Minister stated that he is genuinely impressed with the manner in which the Governor addressed that issues that arose as a result of the destruction and damages.
“I must confess that I haven’t had the best relationship with governors, but I am indeed pleased that you are the governor of the Virgin Islands at this time…The governor did a very good job of thanking all the persons who were involved in the recovery [after the hurricane]. He left out two very important persons that I would like to thank. First, I would like to thank the governor himself… And, of course, we have to thank the Premier, [Dr D Orlando Smith],” Minister Walwyn added.