Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE along with Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Mark Vanterpool toured the H. Wilfred “Freddie” Smith Power Plant at Pockwood Pond on Sunday, September 23.
United Kingdom’s Department for International Development’s (DFID), International Development Secretary, Priti Patel also accompanied the Government officials.
The tour provided Ms. Patel with an update on joint efforts made by workmen from the BVI Electricity Corporation and Royal Engineers from the UK’s Defense Force.
Premier Smith spoke on the importance of getting electricity up and running. He said, “We know that electricity is an essential service to help us rebuild and to make sure our telecoms are functioning, businesses can open doors and for residents to be able to get back to normalcy; so we have been concentrating efforts towards seeking out partnerships to get this essential service up and running.”
Premier Smith also addressed the request put forward by Secretary Patel for his administration to put together a framework of support needed to rebuild the Virgin Islands. This framework she said can be advanced with other international development agencies.
On this type of partnership Premier Smith said, “We are fostering real partnerships that can assist our development with our interest at heart. We know that we have our people who can get the work done, but we are also aware that we do need financial assistance for an effective rebuild and I will be working hard to ensure a partnership with agencies like DFID is one in the Territory’s best interest.”
Secretary Patel was in the Virgin Islands as part of a tour of Overseas Territories affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Department for International Development (DFID) is a United Kingdom government department responsible for administering overseas aid. The goal of the department is to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty.