Third District Representative, and Opposition Member, Hon. Julian Fraser said that some employers showed little regard for their employee’s safety and for National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) during the preparation for hurricane Dorian as they insisted that their staff stay and work.
The Legislator made the complaint during the House of Assembly on 2 September, and Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie promised to look into the matter.
In making the report of how some employers reacted to the approaching storm Hon. Fraser said: “Long after the Government had announced that the Civil Servants were not to report to work, except for essential workers and even after there was the talk of a curfew to be issued, in the private sector, employees were being asked to come to work and threatened.”
In referencing the disregard for the National Emergency Operations Centre, the Third District Representative disclosed that the NEOC was informed about the position of the rogue employers and failed in their attempt to persuade the employers to behave otherwise.
In fact, Hon. Fraser said that the employers responded unfavorably to NEOC’s intervention into the matter.
In stressing the seriousness of the situation, and the need for legislators to take action Hon. Fraser said: “Mr. Speaker I think it is incumbent on us as legislators to ensure, even before we saw what took place with hurricane Irma to ensure that we don’t put our citizens at risk. If we knew long in advance that hurricane Dorian was going to pass over the BVI, we knew not what the consequences were going to be. To risk the lives of citizens out there in the morning…You can go to work yes because it looks ok to go to work but you don’t know about getting back home. It could be a lamp post it could be a tree…”
In noting what actions can be taken against such behaviours Hon. Fraser added: “Mr. Speaker our legislation on curfew, our legislation on impending disasters has to be clear and concise. I think in my mind as a former Minister of Labour that was a point at which the Minister of Labour could have intervened.”