Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
A number of business owners who suffered losses as a result of looting and Hurricane Irma have pledged to never operate in the British Virgin Islands again, said Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie.
Reports are that the category 5 hurricane blew winds and spewed water that ended well over 50 percent of local businesses.
But Fahie said it was the senseless looting that drove the final nail in the proverbial coffin for some business owners.
He told the House of Assembly that the business owners feel their kindness was repaid with treachery from residents.
“They saw themselves doing so many things to help the community that, when their business was looted — whether Irma destroyed it or by those who destroyed it after Irma, a lot of our business people are down-spirited [and] downtrodden.”
“They feel betrayed by members of the public. Yes, a few [members of the public], but a few [was] enough. One man can’t build a country, but one man could surely destroy it,” Fahie said.
“Some of them told me straight out that they’re not coming back into business. The desire to be in business has gone, because they saw themselves as part of the community; they saw themselves as helping the community [and] sponsoring everything. They saw themselves as [the persons] …you could count on for a sponsor; they saw themselves as helping the elderly,” the opposition leader continued.
Looters were free to ransack several businesses and property for days after Hurricane Irma on September 6. Law and order was finally restored after Governor Augustus Jaspert declared a state of emergency, and after members of the United Kingdom armed forces arrived in the territory.
Fahie, during the first post-hurricane sitting of the House of Assembly, said the breakdown of overall security is among the reasons he supports the new Curfew Act. The act was rushed through the House on October 5.
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