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BBC paints dismal picture of VI 6 months post hurricanes 2017

- Hon Fraser blames Gov't for lack of decisive leadership & priority
Many Government buildings, including Central Administration Complex, have still not been repaired, some six months after they were damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Material possessions of persons living in the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex six months after Hurricane Irma struck the Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017. Photo: BBC News
Material possessions of persons living in the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex six months after Hurricane Irma struck the Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017. Photo: BBC News
According to Third District Representative and Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser RA, the National Democratic Party Government lacks decisive leadership and priority, which is why the hurricane recovery process has not been swifter. Photo: VINO
According to Third District Representative and Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser RA, the National Democratic Party Government lacks decisive leadership and priority, which is why the hurricane recovery process has not been swifter. Photo: VINO
The BBC News article, captioned ‘Virgin Islanders still in shelter, six months after Irma’, not only highlighted the plight of those who are still residing in the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, but also gives insight into the lives of two residents affected by the category 5 storms and shares the perspective on development of both the Premier, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) and the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka 'Gus'. Photo: BBC News
The BBC News article, captioned ‘Virgin Islanders still in shelter, six months after Irma’, not only highlighted the plight of those who are still residing in the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, but also gives insight into the lives of two residents affected by the category 5 storms and shares the perspective on development of both the Premier, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) and the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka 'Gus'. Photo: BBC News
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- There is no doubt that the Virgin Islands has made great strides in its restoration, following the destructive hurricanes that battered the territory in September 2017. However; BBC News chose to ignore that and focused on the many shortcomings in an article published on its website on March 6, 2018.

The article, captioned ‘Virgin Islanders still in shelter, six months after Irma’, not only highlighted the plight of those who are still residing in the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, but also gives insight into the lives of two residents affected by the category 5 storms and shares the perspective on development of both the Premier, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) and the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka 'Gus'.

Life in the Sports Complex

Stanton Robinson aka Mikey, age 30, was featured as one of the “approximately 20” persons still housed at the Multi-Purpose Sports complex. He reportedly told them "I don't like it in here. I don't feel comfortable in this place, (tell the government to) Please help me."

Also featured was 34-year-old Makeba Hesky who is reported as saying "It seems to me like everybody just give up on us."

The discussions on the sports complex being used as a shelter to this day as been had many times over and in many circles. While many are sympathetic to the plight of those wo are sill there, the fact remains that the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex is not fulfilling its intended use and the youths and sports on the whole in the territory are suffering.

“We really need the Sports Complex. We need to get the people out of there. They holding the building hostage. Enough is enough,” stated host of the ZBVI 780 AM sports show, Sports Talk, Mr Clement 'Tony' Donovan aka ‘Bone Crusher’ during a live broadcast of the show on Saturday February 24, 2018.

And though the BBC article states that the occupants have no where else to go, it is alleged that one person in that shelter owns two apartment buildings and another receives $2000 cheques monthly.

State of the territory

Turning its attention to the Premier, the article described the deplorable state of the Central Administration Complex, saying that “Most of the structure's windows are boarded, awaiting replacement. Inside, the island's premier, Orlando Smith, works from a sparse office while repairmen are still labouring to repair the extensive damage.”

Premier Smith was quoted as saying his "biggest priority is housing - getting those roofs back on, getting people in homes. Then of course, there is the matter of the economy. We've got to get that economy back up and running."

The article went on to describe the impact of the hurricanes on the VI tourism product, even stating that, “Two of the biggest cruise companies have stopped bringing ships to the BVI, and the reduced numbers of tourists has meant a slow recovery for the tourism industry.”

More UK involvement was expected

Two residents, Roselyn Hill and Rita Plunkett, shared their experiences post Irma and Maria. They both shared the sentiment that the expected more from the ‘mother country’.

Bishop John I. Cline, who was also interviewed, is recorded as saying "When we did need them to show that we are truly a child of the United Kingdom, I think they disappointed us," he said. "It changed our view in terms of a relationship, to saying 'are we really a part of you or is that just in name only?'”

However, Governor Jaspert allegedly told the site he is ‘proud of’ the support of United Kingdom and though they were very visible immediately following the hurricanes as military personnel, “Behind the scenes, the UK has been supporting with infrastructure, supporting with technical advisors in each of the key departments and ministries… as well as grants on specific projects - both on immediate needs, but also on longer term. (Together) we've got the electricity back on. We've got businesses back open. We've got all children getting educated, and key services are back up and running."

The article ended with a sad depiction of the state of the territory. “The island's main high school lies in ruin. Many other schools appear damaged. Harbours are littered with overturned and abandoned boats - some boats lay where they washed up on land. Roads are littered with potholes. And some debris remains strewn about.”

The picture pained is not one of a Territory that is ‘open for business’ but more of one struggling to recover, six months after being hit by the storms. Stated was “with hurricane season less than 100 days away, many residents are worried about what the next storm may bring.”

Lack of decisive leadership & priority- Hon Fraser

Meanwhile, Opposition Member Honourable Julian Fraser RA, during a public meeting at St Mary's Church Hall in Virgin Gorda on March 7, 2018 commented that the BBC would not have had cause to write such an article if Government had exercised decisive leadership and priority.

During his discourse with residents, Hon Fraser also said Premier Smith's excuse of there being a lack of building materials coming in to the Territory as a reason for Government buildings and other infrastructure still not repaired is unacceptable.

He reminded that he had asked the Premier while in the House of Assembly recently if he made contact with the shipping companies' executives; however, that question was re-directed to the Minister for the subject.

"My response was this is above the Minister's pay grade. This is an issue for the Premier to talk with the shipping companies directly. Tell Tropical, tell Crowley, that we have a country that is in need of being rebuilt. The Government administration needs certain materials, bring them on the next shipment, or if you have to, get a boat and go bring them yourself. Don't sit back here and say you can't get materials. There is absolutely no reason for our Government buildings to be in a state of disrepair as they are in right now."

Hon Fraser also referred to the proposed Recovery and Development Plan where Government allocated $100,000 to the restoration of the yachting sector as another example of a lack of priority.

You can imagine how many yachts we have strewn around the BVI, sunk to the bottom of the ocean. When you talk about $100,000, I don't know what that is for, maybe that is to police the area..."

See link to full BBC article:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43303537

20 Responses to “BBC paints dismal picture of VI 6 months post hurricanes 2017”

  • ... (08/03/2018, 09:42) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    wow
  • Bull (08/03/2018, 09:54) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Government just full of it why they have these people still there. And they all have relatives some of them have property. They should have had them arrested or even if they housed them somewhere else.
  • Real (08/03/2018, 10:34) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Serve the government right no common sense
  • lodger (08/03/2018, 10:48) Like (13) Dislike (13) Reply
    Being in UK I watched the hourly items on Tuesday on BBC News TV. There were not many pictures to show destruction or recovery and the reporters main point seemed to be that the UK had not provided enough help and aid. Of course our premier first refused help after the floods and then had to beg for it. Also UK considers us too rich to need help. Maybe we will not be so well off now. Hopefully the governor will be making overtures to persaude the motherland to look after her chicks.
  • SMH (08/03/2018, 10:52) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yet they have the gall ask what would the most Hon. H. Lavity Stoutt do....
  • 1 (08/03/2018, 10:59) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    another reason why the NDP must go
  • critic (08/03/2018, 11:27) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    It's high time, the Government should have already have do ppl in some sort of housing, bring in some trailers and create a temporary housing in an area of flat land conducive to seeing the trailers there modified for housing. The government has done nothing for these ppl. That is a damn shame.
  • Lessons BVI (08/03/2018, 11:33) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Seriously, the present Government of the BVI needs to revisit its priorities. There are so many pressing issues for the BVI Government’s attention, e.g. making some effort to repair the roofs and buildings where they have their employees sitting whole day, and where people need to go for essential services. Even application for work permits is considered as essential at this time, as the BVI does not have the manpower to effectively repair the buildings destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Do those in authority realize that the next Hurricane season is a few months away? Do they even care? If they did, I assume that they would try to re-prioritize their focus.

    So soon after the devastation of the Territory by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, why is the Government focussing on trivia such as whether legitimate customers to the Government building have on closed-up shoes or open shoes (slippers); wasting so much ink and other resources printing full page coloured photo of young man dressed to death in long sleeves and shiny dress shoes. Yes, rules and regulations are essential in society, but these have to be made with understanding and common-sense to enable residents who are willing to do their part in these urgent and necessary restoration activities. What about the Rules for the House of Assembly, where the Government Accounts are to be audited but have not been done now for several years.

    Meanwhile, the UK is being called-out for their apparent lack of support and action at this crucial time. Yes, the UK should have and could be doing more to assist the BVI in this recovery stage. But what is the BVI Government doing to help the people – wasting every cent they can get their hands on? Not giving account of the millions of dollars that they have squandered in the good times? What are the people of the BVI planning to do? Are the people just planning to return the NDP bunch by the ballot blindly. It is time for our people to awake from your slumber. The local Government needs to give account of the millions of dollars squandered – airplanes that never flew commercially on behalf of the people of the Territory; million-dollar wall around one school, when students were taught in trailers; etc.

    The UK Government’s assistance is needed and I do not fault them for laying down their rules and expectations. Hopefully next time when the UK comes to assist the BVI, the people will stand up to the BVI Government and do not let them chase away the assistance. There was no foresight previously but hopefully lessons have been learnt. Rise up my people for what is good and right!
    • @lessons BVI (08/03/2018, 12:53) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      Well said. I will shake your hand for this awesome comment. I am so ashamed of our government that it isn't funny. They need to go but yet I don't see anyone who is capable of leading this territory forward. We're basically screwed because everybody greedy
  • Hmm (08/03/2018, 11:38) Like (40) Dislike (1) Reply
    If you think this is bad, wait until the reporters come back on the year anniversary and find all those shanty shacks people have been erecting instead of investing in building proper houses.

    The government isn't acting quick enough to stay on top of the game. We're going to get buried by this is legistlations aren't made and people aren't following the law.
  • the whole (08/03/2018, 11:39) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not only government failed all of us have failed. Are we still our brother or sister keeper?
    • Mark (09/03/2018, 10:14) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Nope. Greed will never allow us to do that, not then and most definitely not now. These hurricanes has not change our mindset. Directly after those hurricanes everyone was singing kumbaya but we are now right back to our old dirty ways pre-Irma.
  • good (08/03/2018, 11:48) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    I'm far from a Fraser fan but he is totally on point here!!!!
  • divided we fall (08/03/2018, 12:50) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    A decided government. Unity is needed more now than ever before. Things are bad. Things are tuff.. Get the Street lights adjacent to first Caribbean bank up please...The progress is slow.. 6 months we still trying to put committees and agencies together..Things that were to be priorities. Were left as after thoughts.... The best way forward is to switch ministers.. We need some more action and results in Labour, Agriculture, communication and love for people.. Too many people getting knock about from big companies..
  • Realist (08/03/2018, 13:36) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    I dont see the issue because all we have done so far is put lipstick on our pig and it is still a pig. The hurricanes just exposed the rotting infrastructure that was already there, which requires new leadership with better ideas and management skills to fix
  • it is sometimes (08/03/2018, 13:53) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    the things we say and do make us not to go forward in life.The ruling party the opposition and we the people make up the government and if we are not in accordance with one another we not gonna go forward they way we should.Sometimes the way we blog the speeches made at various forums can have an effect on the island. Let be positive and truthfully at all times. Let us stop pilling down one another to get at the top of the ladder and also stop the crab in barrel syndrome that continue to plague us as a people. Let us respect each other views and live as one and help to bring the BVI to even better than what it was.It gonna take time but yes we can and yes we will. Oh Happy International Women's day to all women.
    The backbone to every economy and nation.Pls unclude them in the recovery process and you see what a difference they will make.
  • See (08/03/2018, 14:32) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lets not kid ourselves . The UK marines and other help officials were told to stand down by govt . Look around.... who is doing the volunteering and rebuilding ? BE HONEST . Roadtown and so much of our country is still a cesspool while certain people scramble for the recovery money . There is a reason the real cruiseships are not coming here ....face facts . It does not have to be this way but we the people of the BVI need to get up and pitch in for the rebuilding of our country . Drive around and count how many govt workers are actually working at any given time ? Its six months later for Gods sake . Other islands are way ahead of us and taking tourist dollars that should be coming here . Get real people and see what is really going on .... not nearly enough for sure
  • one eye (08/03/2018, 16:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    you all can't handle the truth
  • Me (10/03/2018, 11:09) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Most people in the shelter would of already been out of there but they lost their jobs, landlords kick guys out and increase in house prices. How and where do you expect these people to leave when they cant even afford the minimum apartment rent. Organize a job fair because we... they really want to leave .
  • oh boy (12/03/2018, 17:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Come on BV islanders. Blame the expatriates for how dirty and untidy the BVI is 6 months after hurricane Irma and Maria. Especially the marine industry. Oh. What about that big blue monument at the water front. Blame exists too.


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