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4 months later USA, Canada & UK still discouraging travel to VI

- major countries still have advisories to their citizens on travel to Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma & Maria, along with Zika virus concerns
January 20th, 2018 | Tags: travel advisory concerns terrorism Hurricanes UK US Canada
The United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom are still advising their residents not to come to the Virgin Islands because of various reasons. Photo: Internet Source
Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, devastated the Virgin Islands back in September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, devastated the Virgin Islands back in September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands has not had a case of the Zika virus since September 2016. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands has not had a case of the Zika virus since September 2016. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- While the government of the day and the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB) work on restoring international confidence in the Virgin Islands (VI) after the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September of 2017, their job is being made more difficult.

As of today, Saturday January 20, 2018 three major countries that account for some 90% of the tourists travelling to the VI- the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom- are still advising their residents not to come to the VI because of various reasons.

A check moments ago on the United States Department of State webpage showed they are still asking Americans to “reconsider travel to the British Virgin Islands due to the aftermath of a natural disaster” Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

The US State Department in its travel advisory stated, in giving the VI a level 3 rating, which means to reconsider travel there, “Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage. Areas of the islands may lack adequate access to electricity, water, medicine, or food. Some roads may be impassable. Intra-island travel may be difficult.”

Director of Tourism, Sharon P. Flax-Brutus, when asked what her agency is doing in light of these travel advisories, told our newsroom today, “we are aware and have been working diligently on the back end.”

UK: Stay clear of BVI

In a check today Saturday 20, 2018, the so called ‘mother country’, the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) webpage has warned British citizens that “Visitors should be aware that recovery and clean-up efforts continue. Swimmers should be mindful that debris may remain on some beaches or in the sea, and should exercise caution.”

The FCO told British travelers, “There is widespread damage to infrastructure with a large proportion of homes and buildings very badly damaged. Some roads are impassable or the road surfaces have been washed away.”

The UK warned its citizens that terrorist attacks cannot be ruled out in the VI. They have posted on their page “Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the British Virgin Islands, attacks can’t be ruled out.

"There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time,” the FCO stated.

In addition, they claimed that the VI has Zika virus, which posed another risk to British travelers.

The VI Ambassador to the UK and European Union, E. Benito Wheatley, did not respond to our queries as to what he was saying to the UK/EU to ease their travel advisory fears.

Zika alert in place for Canada

Canada on the other hand has soften its hurricane travel warning. However, a check of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs page today January 20, 2018, some four months after the hurricanes of September 2017, the Government of Canada is still saying “Exercise a high degree of caution in the British Virgin Islands due to damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”

It was stronger in warning that the VI has the Zika virus and told Canadians, “The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travelers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to the British Virgin Islands,” the statement said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Petrona N. Davies referred our newsroom to Dr Ronald E. Georges, the Medical Officer of Health, who said "the VI did not have a case of Zika virus since September 2016." 

Dr Georges also stated that the VI has reported the information to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) of which Canada is a part, so it seems like they "are ignoring the information clearly posted by PAHO of which it [Canada] is a member country."

It remains unclear, four months after the hurricanes of last year, what the VI needs to do in order to be cleared from the three countries' travel advisory lists.

See link to related story below:


27 Responses to “4 months later USA, Canada & UK still discouraging travel to VI”

  • ... (20/01/2018, 20:08) Like (22) Dislike (29) Reply
    Just because we are a black country
    • Fern (21/01/2018, 04:51) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      Rubbish, the U.K. Government don't react quickly in there own country take for instance Grenville Towers. A block of 20plus floors went up in a fire and families still have no homes etc. So you are not alone
    • island man (21/01/2018, 12:52) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
      I don't thank being have any thing to do with it. Let's seriously take a look at the Sewage problem, roads damages, High dangerous ditches due to mud slides, sanitation of some restaurant, regular absence of water etc.
      The BVI is not doing well in its recovery at all. Like wise both Government and businesses are not doing enough to improve the situation speedily.
      Have you taken a look at Sopers Hole, West End? Where will travelers find good and healthy environment here? Name 3 places.
  • belonger (20/01/2018, 20:33) Like (11) Dislike (5) Reply
    Vino you should have asked her what she meant by her answer. That doesn't say much. Since that time til now the territory has improved tremendously in restoring power and travel between the Islands, this must be conveyed to these countries in particular, it appears that this has not been done to bring the ppl up to speed to what has been happening here since storms. Ppl dying in the UK from the freezing cold, many ppl don't know another BVI resident an 18yr old female die in the UK since NJ from the gut renching weather in the UK. We have to do more for ourselves, don't expect other ppl to do for us. Let the potential visitors know, the BVI is ready and welcome their patronage, not saying it alone. Have video informercials showing the state of the BVI to convince the ppl to come to our shores. There are small villas and hotels that can accommodate them for the time being. Come on let's get the job done. Not giving lip service.
    • @ belonger (20/01/2018, 21:01) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
      residents living here should be the government first and foremost priority.
      BVI citizens safety and well-being should always take precedence over all entities including tourists, tourism, and all foreign interest.
  • me (20/01/2018, 20:55) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    So we have Zika now too? Make it sound like some kind of outbreak. I don't even know one person with Zika....NOT ONE!
  • qc (20/01/2018, 20:57) Like (11) Dislike (9) Reply
    Hypocritical OF THESE COUNTRIES
  • i from here (20/01/2018, 21:00) Like (2) Dislike (15) Reply
    the Governor and NDP kept the curfew on too long, as the world thought we were unsafe and safety of the country's citizens must always be first priority.
  • Priority (20/01/2018, 21:01) Like (19) Dislike (6) Reply
    Local themselves are also discouraged to return travel back home to VI.. Our Government of the day is worthless on getting the country back up to some kind of way to even circulate the economy within the country
    • think about it (21/01/2018, 20:17) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Every time you slam the Gov't for not doing enough, you actually are slamming all those people who've been out there working hard to clear roads, debris, and put up electrical poles. Irma was a storm of historical magnitude. The road to recovery will take time, hard work, patience and compassion.
  • pat (20/01/2018, 21:10) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why am i not surprised
  • *Hmm (20/01/2018, 21:16) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
    Welsah, down to the very "motherland" discouraging potential visitors, ain't that a !tch. Talking bout terrorist attacks....they for real? Listen, you see that $$ they loan us? That right there going be the final nail in our coffin should these idiots we have for a gov default on it. I feel UK going sit back with itchy fingers & speedy legs to step in & take over & I blame these idiots.
  • Diplomat (20/01/2018, 22:11) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is the BVI process for communicating with the UK’s FCO, US’ State Department and Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Is the contact directly between the BVI government and the three governments or contact has to go through the UK? What is the Tourist Board role,if any, this? How often is the contact? Is the current advisories in these countries due to slow action on our part?
  • dude (21/01/2018, 01:36) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Aren't we shithole country according to Trump?
  • vick (21/01/2018, 06:06) Like (15) Dislike (13) Reply
    They are right,most of the island does not have electricity,roads are a mess,we do have zika virus,there is not one decent beach on the island.they are just telling the true.
    • Romney Park (21/01/2018, 11:13) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Where's the electricity? Haven't seen any linemen up here! Noted by the gov't, we have so many linemen coming from different countries and islands. Well, where are they?
  • News? (21/01/2018, 06:59) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    So far everything I have read is true. What was the point? I think we already have an acute sense of our true state of affairs despite what some politicians might say. Oh well, time for me to start up the generator and fix the tarp on my 'roof.' Real talk.
  • tola (21/01/2018, 08:34) Like (10) Dislike (6) Reply
    If I was them I wasn't coming either. This place ain't ready and they moving slow and not taking any help with them small mind.
    BVIslander speaking
  • wize up (21/01/2018, 08:58) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Wake and live oh sleeping political leaders!!
  • wize up (21/01/2018, 09:59) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Not one of anticipated the detestation the hurricane brought but we true to our selves the BVI is recovering from after than some of to point finger and ranting and raving is unfair VI people because I know of countries still struggling. Stop sitting with outsider to pull down this place we bee through a lot in 2017 and we better Parayer that 2018 don’t sting this territory the same madnitude of even: be tank you to the God/ some of we to simple minded and will take a mountain and turn in to mild hill: we are one people joint hands and harts( I have people in my hood I gave the light all day now power back on I make it business to Donte items so they can rebuild) I don’t need a pat on my back for the VI people that inaptad if this dumm a@@ publication stop the dumb talk and help our people: who care to visit our territory God bless some of think the BVI was ever country to be devastated!!!!!
  • NezRez (21/01/2018, 11:57) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    I can see the USA avoiding us,but the UK should want us to get back on our feet ASAP. They are our mother country and should be encouraging people to come. I don’t know anyone who has the virus and the numbers have to be low as it was before when tourists were coming here with no problems. True our roads are still a mess and houses cannot be repaired so quickly, but I still see tourists coming and are sympathetic to our situation seeing we need help from the UK. No place can just jump back to normal with the devastation we have and only those who have a lot of money can do that. SMDH.
  • bvi (22/01/2018, 10:35) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    CANADA and the UK should be the last countries to put us down . But I blame the FOLLOWER of this ISLAND for all of this mess . We need a good leader for this place because we have a serious problem and it is getting to a state of no return if this government do not stop take a good look at what is going on with them and this place and get a leader we do not have a leader in this government . T he people who toil with out shoes to keep the BVI for their offspring is turning over and over from their graves.
  • FMCountry (22/01/2018, 11:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I told all you a long time ago that the UK does not care about us. Only if it something for their nationals they show an interest. Yes, after four months, we have made some strides, but their websites should have been modified to include how our present position is. The minute they realize the Muslims have overrun them in the UK, they will want to look at us then, but another awakening is before them; we know our history and the role UK played in colonizing us. No, don't ask us to forget because we wouldn't. When the jews forget their holocaust, then we will forget our history.
  • Jan (22/01/2018, 17:55) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply

    A lot of people don’t know the Jews had a very big hand in slavery and still do. Their holocaust was nothing compared to ours. We should never forget what happened to us and is still affecting us. Imagine being stolen from your home, beaten, raped, mutilated, linched, mudered, made to work from sunup to sundown in stone cold winters and scorching summers with no relief, never getting paid and had the nerve to say we Black People were only 3/4 of a human being and lazy. All We need to do is band together as one like the rest of the world does because if we are waiting for these other countries to care about us we are dead ducks. Canada and USA couldn’t give a rats a$$ about our islands. The UK is only waiting to come down and completely run us out, and thanks to our leaders, we are the weakest we have ever been.

  • liberal (24/01/2018, 00:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI had a good relationship with Canada but for some reason after the NDP went into office the first time, things went belly up and we have lost a great country who use to assist in the Hospital and Fire department..

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