Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 545-3572; ads call 440-6666                               Sittings from House of Assembly are carried live on 90.9 FM the Caribbean superstation or follow live online:

Flip-flopping again! Premier tells UK the VI facing significant hardship

- contradicts his earlier statement about VI being back on its feet & open for business
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) is singing a different tune while addressing the International Development Committee in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by telling the committee that the Virgin Islands people were 'battered and shattered'. Photo: YouTube
Damaged homes in Huntums Ghut as a result of Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Damaged homes in Huntums Ghut as a result of Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Despite Minister of Finance and Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) stating that the Virgin Islands (VI) is back on its feet and ready for tourism season, he sang a different tune while speaking before the International Development Committee in the United Kingdom on Tuesday October 31, 2017- that the people of the Virgin Islands were “battered and shattered”.

The Premier, who is known for flip-flopping on his statements, explained, “The most consequential impact were the five souls that were lost. Four as a result of Irma and one to Maria. There are many who have nothing left and we are seeing many cases of significant hardship. It is estimated that almost 20 percent of the population – that is over 6,000 persons- were temporarily displaced.”

The Minister of Finance told the committee it is also estimated that almost 80 percent of buildings have been damaged and many are uninhabitable or beyond repair. In addition, he stated that the infrastructure and many important services were severely impacted.

Government buildings, including those of the police, fire service and the prison, suffered major structural damage, according to Premier Smith.

He further explained that every school sustained damage. "A third of our primary schools suffered major damage, and most of the main high school campus had been totally obliterated. Our modern hospital, which was built specifically to withstand a category 5 hurricane, stood very well, but many of the community clinics were badly damaged."

$3.6B in damages

Premier Smith informed the committee that the preliminary estimate of the cost of the damage ranges up to $3.6 billion which is 3.5 times the Virgin Islands pre-hurricane Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

During his initial speech to the committee, Premier Smith expressed that insurance will cover some of the losses specifically for the private sector, but coverage is far from universal especially among homeowners, while noting that the tourism sector, the single largest source of employment and biggest contributor to our GDP, has been severely impacted.

“The overall damage caused by the hurricane will inevitably have an impact on the GDP and BVI government revenues,” emphasised the Premier.

It was on October 26, 2017 when Premier Smith controversially stated that the Territory is back on its feet and open for business.

Speaking on the strengthening of the police force due to additional officers from the United Kingdom, The Cayman Islands and Bermuda, and the imposition of a curfew intended to protect businesses and uphold law and order, Premier Smith assured that all is well.

“We are also able to increase their visible presence during the day time in the key commercial areas, again providing security and assurance to businesses that we are back on our feet, that law and order is restored and policing is functioning normally,” said Dr Smith.

This statement drew a number of responses from persons who disagreed.

“Now that is a serious statement. The definition of being back on your feet is that the challenges and issues that you suffer before are now corrected and that is not the case,” Former Permanent Secretary and businessman, Mr Julian Willock had stated on Honestly Speaking on ZBVI 780 AM radio on Tuesday October 31, 2017.

20 Responses to “Flip-flopping again! Premier tells UK the VI facing significant hardship”

  • Lord o (09/11/2017, 17:54) Like (28) Dislike (3) Reply
    I wonder what wrong we have done to God because we are getting some real beating..
    • *Hmm (09/11/2017, 21:18) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
      Well we did get fooled into voting for a bunch of deluded, delusional, lunatics with this joker being the biggest one of them all. He needs to get off the media airwaves & stop talking because he's sinking us further than we already are. Can you imagine what these people thinking after meeting with him SMDH
      • Shut (10/11/2017, 00:11) Like (3) Dislike (14) Reply
        Shut up your behind. He sound better than the 2 grader the US has for their President.
    • Wicked (09/11/2017, 23:13) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      The wickedness of some
  • Wait a minute (09/11/2017, 18:00) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    in fact I listen to the whole tape the premier embarrassed us as a people. We need guys like Ronnie, Kedrick, Willock, Collin, Frazer, Dancia etc to resent us on the international stage
    • wize up (09/11/2017, 19:04) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
      @ wait a minute: so this your party come 2019(just asking buddy)
  • What's important (09/11/2017, 18:14) Like (34) Dislike (2) Reply
    Right now we just need to get lights and Cable and water and internet and our jobs. Get the ships coming, get the businesses rebuilt.. Start hiring. We need our lives back...
  • island man (09/11/2017, 18:56) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    Dr. Smith is correct, we are battered and shattered. We need help in recovering. However We are making our self ready with the small resources to start the curse ship arrival asap in order to create revenue.
  • See (09/11/2017, 19:14) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    What an embarassment to our country
  • ndp (09/11/2017, 22:13) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    its clear doc was out of his league
  • Appears (09/11/2017, 23:16) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Looks like he wants to make it look like he is handling the island issues well. He is in denial .
  • E. Leonard (10/11/2017, 04:26) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Though I didn’t go through the monster hurricanes, I have seen up close the severe damages they inflicted on the territory. They battered, ravaged and decimated the BVI. Hundreds of personal residences, commercial businesses, financial institutions, government buildings, schools, institutions, infrastructure (electricity, roads, ports, telecommunications)........etc. realized significant damages. Numerally, per the article, 6000 people (20% of population) were displaced, 80% of facilities (buildings) damaged, and approx $3.6B in total damages. Perhaps not included in these numbers are loss of personal income, business revenue, government revenue, damages to vehicles(road condition).......etc. Is the BVI back on its feet and open for business? Well, that is a matter of interpretation. What is clear though is the that the VI is indeed experiencing significant hardships as a result of the impact of the monster hurricanes. The road back will be long, winding and costly. It will require massive external investment, ie, a combination of grants, loans......etc. A VI Marshal Plan similar to the Marshal Plan that was instrumental in Europe’s recovery after WWII. Moreover, each resident must be on board contributing to the rebuilding effort; pulling the wagon. Let’s call a spade with straight real talk: The VI or BVI or territory is experiencing significant hardship.
  • SHAME (10/11/2017, 08:49) Like (48) Dislike (0) Reply
    This Premier cannot be trusted.
  • my my my (10/11/2017, 08:50) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Premier does not know the truth even if it hits him in the face.
  • Roscoe (10/11/2017, 10:11) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    A real moo moo for sure
  • Dim (11/11/2017, 10:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    With the avg BVI resident (White managers, directors and supervisors with same or less qualifications than a black native) making 30,000 a month we a naturally viewed as a rich country therefore U.K. will not be in an urgent hurry to finance us to recorvery. I don't know why this party don't recognize that the error in their ways and selling out to outsiders in addition to hugely mismanaging millions is currently hitting us hard with the boomerang effect. It is worldwide known what we are a rich country but little do the U.K. people know we're actually not! The rich people who can leave will leave and who cannot will rebuild with no surety of payment or higher quality of like professional in the future. STOP SELLING OUT

Create a comment

Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.