PREMIER APPEALS TO UNITED NATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE TO REBUILD THE BVI
Monday, November 27
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE during his presentation at the United Nations (UN) High Level Pledging Conference in New York last week, appealed to members of the International Donors Community and
Member States of the UN for financial assistance to support the Territory’s plans to rebuild the BVI as a Climate Resilient destination.
Premier told the world of the unprecedented trio of severe weather events which left the Territory devastated at half way through the 2017 hurricane season. The Premier shared the reality of the devastation brought to the BVI by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in a short video presentation. The Premier arrested the attention of the international community about real, on the ground impacts of Climate Change as he highlighted the severity of the Tropical wave which affected the Territory on August 7 as the first severe weather event, shortly followed by two of the Atlantic region’s most powerful Hurricanes on record.
The Premier expressed thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of the BVI to friends and partners who came to the Territory’s assistance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, including the United Kingdom, the Caribbean Community, CEDEMA and the OECS Member States.
The Premier shared his vision for rebuilding the BVI as a Climate Resilient, energy efficient destination, and called on the International Donor Community to invest in BVI’s rebuilding efforts in the areas of social development, infrastructure, energy, Information and Communications Technology, preservation of the environment and enhancement of our air and sea accessibility.
He acknowledged that the BVI was not eligible for Overseas Development Assistance under Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rules, and as a result had not received any development aid following the hurricanes. He argued that the vulnerability of the Virgin Islands and its exposure to Climate Change conditions should however be considered. The historic event was spearheaded by CARICOM in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to benefit Caribbean countries and territories impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Pledges of about US$ 1.4 billion were made to the affected countries, a portion of which will also benefit the BVI. The conference brought together the world’s major Governmental and Private Sector Donor agencies under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Rt. Honourable Dr. Keith Mitchell, in support of the affected countries of the Caribbean region.
Honourable Premier also stated Government's vision for a new British Virgin Islands is to make the BVI one of the most climate resilient, energy efficient, highly networked, accessible, environmentally friendly and welcoming societies in which to live, work and visit.