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Better inter-island communication system to be developed

Mark Vanterpool

Government said it is working to implement a specialized communication system that will maintain contact between the four main islands when traditional telecommunications networks are knocked offline.

Communications Minister Mark Vanterpool gave the indication yesterday during a public consultation with residents of the Ninth Electoral District. The meeting was held on the sister island of Virgin Gorda.

“We are looking at a better system of communication even on each island … so we can communicate. That’s a system that we need to develop,” said Vanterpool.

He said government also wants to equip police and fire departments on each island with a system that will assist them in ‘getting around’ and disseminating information quickly during times of disaster.

This initiative is being implemented in light of the September 2017 hurricanes that left the sisters islands virtually cut off from the main island of Tortola.

Weeks without communication between islands

During the meeting where residents were invited to give feedback on government’s proposed recovery plan, Virgin Gorda residents claimed that they were cut off for weeks without any official means of communication.

While recalling the dark days on Virgin Gorda following Hurricane Irma, one resident emphasized the importance of having communication equipment that is operational during disasters.

“Let’s be honest. In a modern world, communication is a foundation of many things. It is difficult to assist, to supply, to help if you don’t know what’s needed; if you don’t know what’s the situation on the ground,” the resident told members of government.

According to Communications Minister Vanterpool, the island did not have so much as a satellite phone until after the category 5 disaster.

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9 Comments

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  1. resident says:

    this is a joke a proper communication system was suppose to be put in place years ago

  2. Retired says:

    Ships at sea still use flag signals in the clear daytime and flashing light/Morse code at night and poor visibility. Maybe Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost should do the same after a bad storm. Signalling Anegada would be a challenge however.

  3. ReX FeRaL says:

    Should have been talking this from four years ago.

  4. . says:

    The technology has been around for decades. Radio signal, whether shortwave, vhf or regular radio signals powered through generator would continue to function regardless of weather.

  5. Diplomat says:

    An inter- and intra-island communication plan should have been in place eons ago but that is spilled milk or water under the bridge. Time to learn from the past and prepare for the present and future. Hurricanes Imaria exposed how ill-prepared the government was/is to deal with a disaster. The government seem to be “winging” everything.

    Reaction and chaos was common place; proaction is severely lacking. Back to a communication plan, a network of satellite phones or sat phones is a great start. Sat phones are tied to orbiting satellites, not terrestial cells. The official start of hurricane season is just around the corner(June 01) so let’s get the preparedness ball moving. DDM though homeless need to take charge.

  6. Richgdgy says:

    The Police and Fire should already have radio systems,upgrade if needed and don’t pay 100k for a feasibility study!

  7. Duh says:

    You can buy barely used radio equipment in the US for pennies on the dollar. All the emergency radio systems are being upgraded again and the prior equipment is useless in the states, but perfectly good for the BVI.

  8. The real Boo says:

    Basically they are going to use the fibre cable that BVIEC ran with their lines to VG and JVD. No kudos here needed at all. This should have been done years ago.

    Perhaps he will also throw in a few Sat Phones for good measure. Not rocket science just something they should have funded years ago but instead chose to rack up over-spending on the Hospital and Pier Park.

    These guys need to be beatch slapped sometimes pretending that they are actually coming up with solutions when they just hashing up stuff that should have been done years ago.

  9. Angie says:

    You are ten years late Nuisance.

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