Good day Virgin Islanders and residents. Based on consultation with Cabinet, the State of Emergency has been relaxed with the exception of the curfew which remains in effect from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily. This is primarily for the safety of all residents, and also to allow essential workers to perform duties in the late evenings and early mornings to support our recovery efforts.
For example, BVI Electricity Corporation in getting a significant amount of work done in a very short time. Many of you would observe that our Capital City has gotten brighter as more homes and businesses have gotten reconnected. Servicemen are also working to reconnect residents on Virgin Gorda.
Staff of Water and Sewerage Department have also gotten a substantial amount of work completed, getting our desalination plants up and running, producing water and connecting homes in various communities to the public water supply. I again would like to commend our essential services staff, along with with members of the UK Military for helping to make life a bit more comfortable for residents in those areas. We know it is not an easy process as we start the rebuild, but daily I am hopeful as we continue to make progress.
Our ports are presently functioning and receiving both humanitarian aid and private goods. To support the rebuilding effort, Government has waived all taxes for importers bringing in particular supplies from September 21st until December 21st, 2017. These supplies are:
- Food and water
- Building material
- Electrical fixtures and materials
- Plumbing fixtures and materials
- Household furniture, furnishings and appliances
- Cleaning supplies
This list is currently being reviewed to ensure it meets the rebuilding needs of residents and businesses.
I am also aware of issues clearing goods that business owners are experiencing at the ports as they too are working hard to open their doors and provide goods and services to our community. I again ask for patience and I want to reassure the public, that Government continues to address these and similar challenges as we try to get our islands back to normalcy.
For many, the matter of schools opening and the continuation of our young people’s education is a priority. I want to assure the public, that this is also a matter of urgency for our Government. Minister for Education and Culture, Hon Myron V. Walwyn has issued a statement, thoroughly outlining Government’s plans for students.
Starting October 5, students in Grades 10 – 12 will begin classes at the old Clarence Thomas Limited building in Pasea Estate, as we must prepare these students to sit CXC and exit the secondary school system.
Based on the Ministry’s assessment, the following schools will be used to begin the 2017/2018 academic school year on a shift system for students in Grades K to 9, beginning November 6. They are:
- Willard Wheatley Primary School
- Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies
- Althea Scatliffe Primary School
- Ebenezer Thomas Primary School
- Francis Lettsome Primary School
- Joyce Samuel Primary School
- Claudia Creque Educational Centre
- Bregado Flax Educational Centre - Primary Division
- Alexandrina Maduro Primary School
- Ivan Dawson Primary School
Parents and guardians are asked to contact Chief Education Officer, Mrs. Connie George at 541-7765 to learn more about re-registering students for school in their surrounding community. Next week Minister Walwyn will be announcing plans for junior school as well as students enrolled at H. Lavity Stout Community College.
I take this opportunity to thank the Territory’s educators for quickly addressing the educational needs of our children and young people. I also thank the many private organisations such as Team RUBICON, Convoy of Hope, ADRA and UNICEF that are helping to get schools and early child care sites ready to receive children and students and give our youngest residents some sense of normalcy.
As we continue our recovery efforts and as we look ahead towards rebuilding the Virgin Islands, I ask that each and every one of us prepare ourselves for the arduous task at hand. The Virgin Islands has been very good to all of us and now it is our turn to demonstrate our love and pride in these islands by doing all that we can and what we must, to restore our great Territory.