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BVI seeks loans, investors after some $3.3B damage

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith. File photo

While noting that damage to the territory as a result of recent natural disasters is estimated at some $3.3 billion across all sectors, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said his administration will use an appropriate mix of financing including grants and affordable borrowing to fund reconstruction.

He will also be making a case for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) as soon as today when he meets with World Bank officials.

The premier, who also is the finance minister, was invited to Washington DC to participate in discussions as it relates to recent hurricanes that battered sections of the Caribbean, including the BVI.

“My administration has decided the best way forward for the territory is to utilise an appropriate mix of financing, including grants and affordable borrowing, to fund our reconstruction. We continue to foster relationships with private investors and companies, donor agencies, countries, lending institutions, international investors, and the United Kingdom government to facilitate the funding needed. In addition, we have already received some financial contributions and pledges from our regional and international friends,” Premier Smith said.

“In light of the effects of the recent hurricanes around the Caribbean, the World Bank will be hosting a discussion this weekend as part of its annual meetings. In attendance will be the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim. I will be using this opportunity, which is facilitated through the United Kingdom’s membership, and participating in a round-table discussion in Washington DC on Friday October 13 to highlight the territory’s position. I will be making a case for the Virgin Islands to have greater access to financial support to fund our reconstruction.”

Premier Smith also reassured that, although he will seek investors as a means of helping the BVI to get back on its feet, such action will be done responsibly.

“We are also exploring options with international investors to look at reasonable and responsible opportunities for financing our rebuild. While we are reminded daily of the importance to get our islands back to its pristine landscape, we also know that our financial actions will have a significant impact on our future development. To this end, we are seeking all possible options to fund our rebuilding responsibly,” added Premier Smith.

The BVI, within the last three month, has been affected by a devastating tropical wave, followed by Hurricane Irma that caused widespread destruction, and then Hurricane Maria that caused minimal damage.

“Based on preliminary assessments, the estimated damages to the territory is in the area of $3.3 billion across all sectors,” Premier Smith said yesterday, October 12.

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