By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Before the last crews from Belize and Jamaica departed the territory on Monday, Digicel held and appreciation dinner the Moorings Mariner Inn on Friday night for all the workers who had been restoring electricity throughout the territory.
The idea for the dinner emerged after Digicel gifted BVI Electricity worker Trevor Gumbs on Valentine’s Day. A customer put forward a suggestion that they consider treating the all the workers who have diligently worked on restoring electricity territory wide, following Hurricane Irma.
Besides crews from Belize and Jamaica, other crews from St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, Grenada, Aruba and Canada, worked on the electrical restoration.
“This idea came from the community,” Digicel brand manager Jayne Gray said during brief remarks. “So on behalf of Digicel, we say thank you for the hard work you have done over the past six months. I do not know a single person that is not eternally grateful that has power in their house right now.”
BVIEC General Manager Leroy Abraham said that power has so far been restored to 98% of the territory. He said they’re working on Camanoe right now as well as in Paraquita Bay and returning to connect homes that weren’t ready when crews were in their area.
“On behalf of my amazing, phenomenal team, I want to thank our industry partner Digicel for hosting this dinner for all of us who are here for the hard work that has been done,” Abraham said.
The BVIEC head said during the passage of Hurricane Irma in September 90% of the electricity grid had been destroyed. Abraham recalled that during a meeting he had with an expert from the United States, the expert said that from his experience with disasters, he had “very low expectations” when he was coming to the BVI in terms of development following the hurricane of September 2017.
“He said that his expectations when he came to the BVI was very low and the reason why he said that is, as we all know, Miss Irma was the most powerful hurricane on record and it didn’t just brush the BVI, it hit the BVI head on,” Abraham said. “His expectation was low because from past experience and the merit of hurricane that he has had to deal with from categories 1 to 5 in the US, he said there was no way that the BVI could be at the point and stage that it is today.”
In his remarks, Abraham urged his workers to not take what has been accomplished over the six months “lightly.” He told them that they have been a part of something “immensely great” while noting that the US expert told him that CNN and other persons should come back to the BVI to see that the territory is getting back to a sense of normalcy.
“Most persons saw it as amazing but I say it is truly miraculous with what has transpired with the limited resources that we have and what we were able to accomplish as a team,” Abraham said. “It was truly a team effort. I told someone a few days ago when I saw the BVI and the level of devastation, I knew it wasn’t impossible for us to bring it back and I told everyone from every level that we would bring it back. They didn’t know we would have brought it back this fast, but I knew we would bring it back.”