STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
URING THE NINTH SITTING OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
Thursday, June 11, 2020
2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Mr. Speaker, Monday, June 1 was the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The season goes up until Monday, November 30.
Forecasters have predicted an active season.
My prayer is that God keeps His Holy Spirit hovered around the people and economy of the Territory of the Virgin Islands that we are kept safe.
Along with the start of the Hurricane Season, on June 1 we also observed Whit Monday, a public holiday in the Territory.
This is where we paused and took the time to celebrate and recognise the gift of the Holy Spirit that has been descended upon us, through the Grace of Abba our Father.
Today, we will continue to ask God’s Holy Spirt to keep a guiding hand on us as a people and on this Territory as we continue to prepare for, and to face the many challenges of these unprecedented times that we live in.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, over the past several weeks, our attention and resources have been primarily directed toward mitigating the COVID-19 Global Health Emergency. We are coming to grips with the economic impacts that the pandemic is having on families and businesses worldwide, and more specifically, here in the Virgin Islands.
Currently, we have no active confirmed cases. Please note that we are not out of the woods as yet.
Now, there is another challenge brewing—an active hurricane season—to test the indomitable spirit of the Virgin Islands people.
Conquering challenges is nothing new to Virgin Islanders, Mr. Speaker.
I always reminded that the struggles of our foreparents have ‘hard-coded’ great strengths and abilities into our DNA.
As wise people, our foreparents taught us how to be watchful and vigilant, and how to be proactive in protecting our interests when the storms gather.
Complacency was never an option!
In 2020, we will honour the traditions and the memories of our forefathers by following in their footsteps, by sharpening our readiness to take on everything that is thrown at us.
Whether we like it or not, we may face many tests all at the same time.
Mr. Speaker, we do not get to pick a single battle in 2020.
We have to ‘ready and steady’ ourselves for keeping COVID-19 at bay. We have to reboot, re-energise, and reawaken our economy. And, we must remain ‘ready and steady’ with whatever the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season throws at us.
I have not even mentioned the seismic activity that has been affecting our area recently, nor the reports of drought from some in our region. But, as a people, we will fear not, for God, Abba Father is with us.
Mr. Speaker, the people of the Virgin Islands have it within us to rise to the occasion.
I can assure you the people that your Government will continue to do its part to ‘Be Ready’ for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
I am immensely grateful for the continued support of many teams in the Ministries, departments, and statutory bodies of Government that continue to work together.
Throughout the Public Service, the officers who carry out the day-to-day business of you the people have been updating their plans and procedures so that they are prepared to face the multiple hazards that we may encounter, including tropical storms or hurricanes.
The team at the Public Works Department is carrying out ghut clearing. Around the Territory, including on the Sister Islands, we are inspecting potential shelters.
Mr. Speaker I am also taking the time to encourage and remind the private sector businesses that while they operate in this ‘New Regular’ of living and working with COVID-19, that they also remain in a heightened state of preparedness for the upcoming season.
As a Territory let us continue to work together as one, with BVILOVE, to ensure that activities are well coordinated to help us as a Territory to ‘Be Ready for Anything’.
While we continue to have Faith in the protection of the Heavenly Father, we know we need to take action to protect our community as well.
Let us all continue to gather our supplies and review our home and work plans.
Make sure to take into account how we can maintain our social distance protocols and how we will maintain a sanitised environment to keep ourselves and everyone safe. This is very important.
Mr. Speaker, as a people, let us draw on what we know best — the power of Prayer – and diligent work. After all, the Bible says Faith without works is dead.
I wish to encourage us to continue doing our respective parts to remain and ‘Be Ready for Anything’ mode, where we are putting the preventative measures in place both for COVID-19 and the hurricane season.
We will not be complacent this season. We will all do our part to be ready for the unknown.
Yes, the COVID-19 outbreak remains active. The hurricane season is expected to be active, but none of them is more active than God.
For where GOD IS, we are, and where we are, GOD IS, and where God is, ALL IS WELL!
Mr. Speaker, may He bless and keep the people of the Virgin Islands and this Territory in His Hands!