Fellow Virgin Islanders, residents and visitors,
I greet you in the wonderful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who never fails to protect His people and this Territory.
Hurricane Dorian is behind us now. Thanks be to God that we have had no reports of loss of lives, serious injuries, major property damage, crimes or problems in relation to businesses being compromised. We did, however, experience some major flooding on the outskirts of Road Town with some damage to buildings reported and debris on some roads in those areas.
The Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, and his team at the Ministry and respective departments are on the job and will continue to address the hotspot areas.
I am optimistic that the preventative work that your government has been doing over the past few weeks to clean and clear ghuts and other major watercourses of debris would have helped to reduce the impact of the heavy rains on vulnerable areas. We will continue to do this throughout the Territory.
I am pleased and proud of the way the people of the Virgin Islands conducted themselves during the period of the passage of Dorian, given the sudden turn of events and the short preparation time that we had.
Those of you who were monitoring the advisories would recall that we were not expecting the storm to track near enough to the Territory to have a major impact. However, late yesterday evening, it was discovered that Dorian had moved further northward than forecasted and was 60 miles closer to the BVI, placing the center just south of Tortola. This upgraded our alert level, and out of nowhere we were faced with strong winds and heavy rains.
As if that was not enough, Dorian intensified to hurricane strength while within range of the Territory. Again, this was not what was expected.
But, our Virgin Islands people rose to the occasion. We band together as a community. We prepared our homes, offices and businesses for the unknown. We ensured that the vulnerable among us were looked after. We abided by the law, obeying the short curfew, keeping ourselves out of danger while allowing essential workers to carry out their operations without interruption. For this our people must be commended.
We must also thank the team at the Department of Disaster Management for keeping us well informed, and the first responders and other employees in the public service and statutory agencies who left the comfort of their homes and their concerned family members and mobilized and worked tirelessly to ensure that the needs of all those who required assistance were addressed.
We must be ever mindful that we are not out of the hurricane season. So, we must remain, as our Vigilate indicates, watchful, and we must continue to be ready and stay ready during this most active time of the year.
As we head into the peak of this season, I am confident that we have learned from the experiences of the past and will continue to ensure that we are always in a state of preparedness.
I am aware that Dorian is still traveling and is on its way to our Caribbean neighbours. I pray that God will keep them safe and wherever else the hurricane goes, I pray that those who are within its path remains safe.
Let us continue to petition God for His favour on this Territory; on this place we call home. May He bless and keep us safe and warm.
I thank you.