Governor Augustus Jaspert and the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE welcomed a new package of recovery and reconstruction support from the United Kingdom (UK) today.
The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, confirmed a package of £300 million of UK loan guarantees along with a £10 million grant for the Virgin Islands.
The announcement was made at the start of the annual Joint Ministerial Council meeting, where leaders from 11 British Overseas Territories come together annually to discuss key priorities. Top of the agenda this year is hurricane relief and recovery following the recent devastation caused across the Caribbean by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
This new, long-term support will add to the UK’s continued efforts to help the Virgin Islands recover and rebuild in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This is in addition to the £92 million already committed by the UK to the region-wide relief effort to date.
The Prime Minister confirmed the package of support with British Territory leaders when she met with them at Downing Street today.
Governor Jaspert said, “The Premier and I are delighted that the UK is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the Virgin Islands. This announcement comes at a crucial time for our islands. There are still challenges ahead, but I am confident this support will help us overcome some of them. This additional financial support from the UK will help us progress on the road to recovery.”
Premier Smith said, “I welcome the announcement by the UK Government to further support BVI’s recovery. This is an important step in helping our people put their lives, and our Island back together. We look forward to working with the UK as well as our local, regional and international partners to rebuild the BVI.”
- At the meeting, attendees were:
- Honourable Mr Victor Banks, Chief Minister, Anguilla
- Councillor Jacqueline Ellick, Ascension Island
- David Burt, Premier, Bermuda
- Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, Premier, British Virgin Islands
- Honourable Alden McLaughlin, Premier, Cayman Islands
- Teslyn Barkman, Legislative Assembly member, Falkland Islands
- Honourable Dr John Cortes, Minister for Education, Heritage, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Gibraltar
- Honourable Donaldson Romeo, Premier, Montserrat
- Leslie Jaques, Councillor for International Relations, Pitcairn Islands
- Councillor Lawson Henry, Legislative Council member, St Helena
- Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier, Turks and Caicos
- The £10 million grant announced today is part of a wider £70 million package to the UK territories to support the recovery effort. The British Overseas Territory of Anguilla is receiving £60 million in grant support.
- This new support will be governed by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund which is within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office budget.
- Grant support will be spent over the next three years, and will conclude the support from HMG to British territories following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.