The public is invited to join the Territorial celebrations marking the 42nd anniversary of BVI-USVI Friendship Day on Saturday, October 24.
This year’s activities will be held under the theme, “The Greater Virgin Islands: The Identity and Ingenuity of Our People.” Celebrations will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the Central Administration Complex and will highlight the creativity and resourcefulness of Virgin Islanders, from both a historical and modern day perspective.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, said while the people of the United States and British Virgin Islands have shared a very special relationship bonded together for centuries, it was in 1972 that Governor Melvin Evans of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Government of Tortola proclaimed Virgin Islands Friendship Day, with the BVI hosting the very first celebration.
A number of issues and policy areas have been discussed with mutually beneficial solutions for both territories over the years at the official deliberations at Inter-Virgin Islands Conference/Council Meetings and the Friendship Day celebrations.
The territories also have similar climate temperatures and have experienced the same effects, such as coral bleaching. There has been successful collaboration in this area.
There has been increased collaboration with the DDM (BVI) and VITEMA (USVI) in relation to disaster preparedness which also incorporates the development of tsunami warning systems. A Virgin Islands Emergency Management Council was also established which serves as the highest decision making body within the emergency management structure.
In August 2004, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the BVI and USVI outlining a broad spectrum of assistance to be given during major oil spills in the USVI and BVI waters that can threaten our marine and coastal environment. In 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed on Mutual Cooperation in Disaster Management between the two territories.
Since its inception, activities to mark Friendship Day have evolved into a more relaxed cultural celebration reflective of true friendship, as the two territories alternate hosting the annual celebration.