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'No point in state of emergency before Hurricane Irma' - Premier Smith

- criticised for failing to declare state of emergency before the monster hurricane struck on September 6, 2017
Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), Premier and Minister of Finance was questioned by Third District Representative, Julian Fraser (R3) as to why his government did not declare a state of emergency before Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
The United Kingdom (UK) military was deployed to the territory following the passage of hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 to maintain law and order. Photo: VINO/File
The United Kingdom (UK) military was deployed to the territory following the passage of hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 to maintain law and order. Photo: VINO/File
Cane Garden Bay the day after Hurricane Irma struck the Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
Cane Garden Bay the day after Hurricane Irma struck the Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
A British military helicopter bringing in relief supplies to Tortola days after Hurricane Irma devastated the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
A British military helicopter bringing in relief supplies to Tortola days after Hurricane Irma devastated the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
WICKHAM'S CAY II, Tortola, VI - The day after category 5 hurricane Irma destroyed the territory, there was widespread looting of many businesses. Then, His Excellency Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert declared a state of emergency where the UK military and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) officers were called upon to maintain law and order.

Now, Third District Representative, Honourable Julian Fraser (R3) has questioned the Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) as to why the Virgin Islands (VI) did not put a state of emergency in place before Hurricane Irma.

During the House of Assembly (HoA) on Monday, November 13, 2017 at Ritter House, the Premier stated that there would have been no point in declaring a state of emergency before hurricane Irma.

Looters were free to act without curfew in place

Hon Fraser pointed out to the members of the House that Florida and the US Virgin Islands called a state of emergency before they were hit by the catastrophic hurricane on September 6, 2017, adding that it could have prevented a lot of the looting.

"Looters were sitting right after the hurricane, ready to loot people's homes and businesses, but the police couldn't send them home because there was no curfew in place," Hon Fraser explained.

Premier Smith responded, "The United States and its Territories, they get assistance in terms of aid, FEMA on the ground. We don't get such assistance so a state of emergency, there would be no point in that."

Following Governor Jaspert declaring a state of emergency, a curfew came after, which restricted the movement of people in an effort to prevent and stop the widespread looting.

However, a number of persons have lambasted the government of the day for failing to declare a state of emergency before the hurricane struck.

Many business are reeling from being looted, with some likely not to reopen. Others were forced to layoff staff due to their place of business being damaged and looted of items.

7 Responses to “'No point in state of emergency before Hurricane Irma' - Premier Smith”

  • qc (15/11/2017, 10:42) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    Lift the CURFEW
    • You a fool (16/11/2017, 14:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Lift the curfew? No street lights to put people , businesses and police at risk you have no brain . You are fool.
  • Norm/protcol (15/11/2017, 11:10) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    FEMA is a govt agency correct so what is he saying... has a state of emergency been instated in the VI before, would a cat 5 of that magnitude make it necessary to call for a state of emergency. What do we have on paper concerning this subject.
  • vex (15/11/2017, 12:21) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    its clear after this hurricane that Dr Smith and that gang cannot run the bvi
  • BlackButterfly (15/11/2017, 13:05) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    I don't believe we should blame the premier on this one. We can learn for next time.
  • See (15/11/2017, 13:50) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    How about COMMON SENSE ?
  • I repeat... (16/11/2017, 05:48) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    I repeat...

    Is there such a place called moomooville? Wow, state of emergency means funds from FEMA? What the heck??? The government needed to call state of emergency, if not for the people then for their own darn self to be prepared. State of emergency would tell businesses to get ready to implement their business continuity plans. It would mean curfew in place with immediate effect, evacuation measures in place with immediate effect, emergency services providers on standby with immediate effect, shelters open with immediate effect, people to stock up on food, gas, water etc immediately and at least to last for a certain period of time, people to properly secure their personal and business premises immediately. People needed time to prepare! This thing needed to be taken seriously. Even when I read that the forecasters were concerned that the hurricanes may take routes that it usually does not take (which to me meant directly for the BVI), the Premier probably was of the opinion that the BVI would again be spared! He thought this thing would change course, this thing would die down, just another beautiful day in Paradise. THAT is why the state of emergency was NOT called. Better to say you made a mistake and will not make the same mistake in the future than to defend yourself! IM SO SICK OF THIS! SO IF THERE WERE FUNDS TO BE RECEIVED FROM CALLING STATE OF EMERGENCY, THEN WHAT, YOU WOULD BE CALLING ONE EVERYDAY?? RESIGN!!!


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