Statement

Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration
Release Date:
Friday, 12 June 2020 - 9:06am

STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE VINCENT WHEATLEY
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, LABOUR & IMMIGRATION
NINETH SITTING OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

THURSDAY, 11TH JUNE, 2020

THE PERFORMANCE OF AN ORGANISATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES-FUNDED VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT FOR VIRGIN GORDA

Mr. Speaker, the Caribbean Region is about to enter another hurricane season and I would encourage everyone to accelerate their preparations as we anticipate an active season. I certainly recognise the challenges that emerge in our preparations as we continue to grapple with the pandemic and its social and economic impacts.  We must always remain vigilant and prepared. 

In recognition of the vulnerability of the region and the impacts of Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 on the development of various islands, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, with the support of development partners, continued its work on building the resilience of Member States. 

The process for Resilience Building is being done jointly with the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility and the OECS through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2017. The MoU was designed to assist Member State governments in their efforts to reduce the impacts of disasters in all social, economic, physical and environmental spheres.  The Virgin Islands is fully participating within this partnership framework and continues to assess our vulnerabilities and prepare based on the best information available. 

Mr. Speaker, to that effect, I am pleased to inform this House that a Vulnerability Assessment under this project will be undertaken on Virgin Gorda. The detailed analysis, which will assess various hazards and its impacts on the community, will then be followed by action plans for reducing vulnerability and enhancing resilience.  An important component of the Vulnerability Assessment is the fact that it will be underpinned by consultation at the community level so that organisations and persons may inform the process, provide their views on what are the critical hazards affecting our community and by extent, inform some of the actions that will form part of the recommendations.  We anticipate for instance that matters related to physical and natural environment, health, food security would be addressed and informed by the work which will be undertaken.

I would encourage individuals and organisations to participate in the consultative process once it commences recognising that we will need to be innovative in the way that we meet and garner views.  I look forward to the outcomes of the assessment as we continue to build resilience and prepare for various natural and man-made hazards.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker.