By Mellica McPherson
The recent visits by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt MP has yielded results for the Territory as it was reaffirmed that the BVI will benefit from £15Million the mother country has earmarked for recovery.
The trip to the BVI and Caribbean Commonwealth countries of Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda was the International Development Secretary’s first overseas visit and her announcement regarding her stop in the BVI reverberated back in the United Kingdom.
Hours after the tour in the BVI the statements that were made by MP Mordaunt were circulated via UK Government communication channels. It was reported that the International Development Secretary touted the UK Government’s interest to continue to work with the Overseas Territories of Anguilla, BVI and Turks and Caicos as they develop their longer-term recovery plans.
As the Caribbean tour came to a close the MP announced that the United Kingdom intends to continue to offer support to the BVI and the affected islands as they push to return to normalcy: “Now as we move on from the immediate response phase, on to the long-term future of the islands, Britain will continue to stand by people whose lives were devastated. We are also talking to the international private sector who can support the reconstruction efforts to make sure the islands can build back, and better,” she said.
For the Overseas Territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos, the MP stated that the earmarked £15Million is geared towards delivering accelerated power reconnection and support to prisons, repairs to air and sea ports and support for policing. “This is short-term funding to aid the territories’ early steps to recovery,” she added.
MP Mordaunt further said that the assistance of British Aid immediately after the hurricanes pummeled the islands demonstrates that the UK stands by the Overseas Territories and independent Commonwealth Caribbean countries that have been battered.
“We can be proud that in their time of crisis the UK stepped up to provide the vital immediate relief that was fundamental in getting these islands back on their feet,” the UK Legislator noted.
In recapping how UK Aid rose to the occasion Ms. Mordaunt announced: “The UK Aid mission was huge, covering small islands stretching more than 1,000 miles apart, where buildings, airports and infrastructure had been razed to the ground. I want to pay tribute to the governments of the Overseas Territories, our humanitarian staff and to the military effort, which has been absolutely essential in delivering relief.”
It was also noted that at the World Bank meetings last month, the UK announced that a private sector task force will mobilize business to play a prominent role in the reconstruction in the Overseas Territories. More specifically it was mentioned that the task force will identify and drive forward practical ways of increasing flows of private sector financial support to reconstruction in the region.
Prince Charles Interacts With the Community
Many in the community expressed that the visit of the Heir to the Throne Prince Charles was timely and needed at this post-Irma stage of the Territory.
The Prince of Wales arrived with the International Development Secretary on Saturday 18 November and was shown some of the destruction the Territory suffered. He was also able to see the acts of resilience and speak with some persons in the community who participated in humanitarian efforts.
The Prince visited the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and interacted with some of the young people that participate in the YEP program. The Prince also visited the local branch of the Red Cross and was introduced to a number of volunteers, including Deniese Gardener who risked her life in the middle of the storm along with two others to rescue a local woman.
The Heir to the Throne was later treated to a taste of local culture at a public performance that was held at the Queen Elizabeth II Park. He was also provided with another opportunity to meet people who played a decisive role during and after the catastrophe at a reception that was held at Government House.