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Commemorative Hurricane Irma plaque mounted in Road Town

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and Governor Augustus Jaspert unveil the Hurricane Irma commemorative plaque Thursday on the one-year anniversary for the disaster.

Government has mounted a plaque in front of the Central Administration Complex in Road Town to commemorate last year’s cataclysmic passing of Hurricane Irma.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and Governor Augustus Jaspert unveiled the public ornament on Thursday, September 6, during the one-year anniversary recognition service of the hurricane.

It was dedicated to the memory of the four who perished during Irma as well as to the survivors, donors, and volunteers who contributed to the rebuilding of the territory.

Only a temporary plaque was mounted but that is soon to be replaced with a permanent bronze one.

Don’t get complacent

As persons gathered Thursday to recognise the havoc Irma wreaked and the progress the territory has had over the last year, Governor Augustus Jaspert has warned leaders and residents not to become complacent in continuing restoration efforts.

Jaspert said despite having accomplished a lot since the hurricanes ravaged the territory, the journey to rebuild is far from finished.

“As we recognize and celebrate how far we have come, today is also a day to rejuvenate ourselves to continue our recovery,” he said during a thanksgiving, reflection and restoration service.

“There is still a lot to do. We worked hard to come up with temporary solutions to get homes, businesses and services up and running again. These were vital and commendable and allowed us to function again. However, we need to guard against complacency, we must not allow temporary solutions to become permanent. We must not get used to this state.”

Now one year after Hurricane Irma, Governor Jaspert said it is a time to look at things with ‘fresh eyes’ and endeavour to get everything to a condition that residents can be truly proud of.

“Today (September 6) is a time of remembering and reflecting of what we lost, of what we went through, of individual and shared memories but it is also a moment to look forward. We need to keep focused on recovery as we were this time last year and this is not government alone. Every individual and every community should help take action to restore our territory, to clear up and to support each other.”

We are still in hurricane season, be prepared

Governor Jaspert also called on all to take the necessary steps towards hurricane preparations and not to be caught off guard.

Premier Smith, who delivered a brief speech at the function, urged persons to remain focused on the task of rebuilding.

“It is my belief that if we stay focused on that common purpose we can achieve great things,” he said.

He reminded residents that “the road ahead will not be easy and there will be setbacks, there will be challenges along the way … but the BVI will blossom again”.

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9 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A year wasn’t long enough even to get a permanent plaque made. How BVI typical. Stop the drama Orlando and get the island cleaned up. Enough smoke and mirrors. Roads, sewers , trash pick up, rebuilding. That is what we need not plaques. Honor those that perished by making their homeland a jewel not a cesspool.

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    • Concerned says:

      I feel sorry for the writer. There is such a thing as history for the future generations. They may learn about the resilience of their forefathers and also share as experience to draw from. Come on put on your thinking cap. Don’t always be a critic

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dear Concerned,

        Crticism is what invokes change. Change is what is desperately needed in the Territory. I’m not taking about changing one group of crooks for another. I’m talking about change to the way of life. All are entitled to superior health care, proper sewage, proper disposal of waste and garbage, consumer protection laws and transparency in every manner of government. If you like the status quo then you are part of the problem. The only way to have what the masses need and desire is to criticize. Now say you?

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  2. faithful says:

    Why would I want to remember such a horrible event? The money they wasted on this piece of crap could have gone to help to fix one of those dilapidated Government buildings instead

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  3. E. Leonard says:

    Hurricane Irma, a monster Cat 5 storm, unleashed its fury on VI on 06 Sep 17, devastating the territory and causing significant damages ($3B). 4 deaths resulted dorectly from the storm and tens in the aftermath; may they rest in eternal peace. Hurricane Irma changed lives and circumstances. Every part of BVI life was severely impacted : School, public safety, infrastructure, housing, sport, employment/jobs, medical, social services, environmental resources, attractions, economy, government delivery of services, marine ports operations, ferry services, tourist facilities, finance, road network………etc.

    Further, the territory saddled with the decimation is working to regain its footing to return to normalcy. The territory is forging ahead with resiliency, recovery , reprogramming……..etc. However, as the territory forges ahead, it must focus on replanning. It must take pause and review how things were done in the past and if it makes sense to continue to do things as they were done in the past. The devastation provides an opportunity to do things differently. Somethings need to be performed differently.

    For example, ESHS sits on some prime real estate but the land use is not being optimally used. Suggest razing, resiting, redesigning, and reconstructing the facility to make more effective use of the prime land. Moreover, the facility should be designed for a dual purpose, ie, 1)school facility and 2)rideout facility during a hurricane or other disasters. Looking ahead, the territory must recover using a national development plan (NDP). True, the territory can’t fund the recovery from surplus funds and must borrow millions if not billions. The territory will have to incur debt.

    Though no debt is preferable, public debt if used properly is vital for economic growth and development. How much debt is too much? In normal times, the experts recommend a debt to GDP ratio of 40% ( think the current ratio is well below this recommended number) for developing countries such as the BVI. Nonetheless, in certain circumstances, the debt load can temporarily exceed the recommended number, provided the territory can manage its debt load.

    • Political Observer [PO] says:

      @E. Leonard: “True, the territory can’t fund the recovery from surplus funds and must borrow millions if not billions. The territory will have to incur debt.” Yes, the territory is in a financial crisis and must borrow large sums—$$MM, $BB— to fuel the recovery caused by 2 Cat 5 hurricanes. However, in the recent past, the incumbent government had not demonstrated exemplary financial stewardship and fiduciary responsibility, ie, $7.2M giveaway to BVI Airway, a bankrupt and bruk airline, $40M cost over run on Tortola Pier Park project, $1.2M+ expenditure on a small section of Elmore Stoutt High School wall………etc.

      Thus, effective financial stewardship is definitely and urgently needed and a board or a quasi looking alternative government is not needed. The electorate must get engaged and demand that the people that they elect to represent them do their d…mn job. Members failing to perform in a stellar manner must be kick to curb at the polls. Perhaps the territory needs a mechanism in the the constitution to recall poor performers outside of the general election. Further, here is a bit of thinking outside the proverbial sand box.

      An election is constitutionally due no later than June 2019. And in addition to voting for the 9 district reps and 4 at large reps, a list of capital projects can/should also be put on the ballot for the electorate to vote on. These projects can be paid for partially or in whole with a small/nominal land/property tax increase. Bonds can be sold and paid for with the property increase. Of course, the tax legislation should have a sunset clause in it, ie, the tax will not go on in perpetuity.

  4. Leonardo says:

    The picture seems to show that nothing is there on the podium where a plaque would usually be placed. Perhaps it should be left empty to reflect the fact that Orlando failed to help us. Perhaps we can replace it on the day he and his cronies replenish our treasury with all of our money that they have misspent and perhaps received under the table as kickbacks.

  5. Eagle & Buffalo says:

    Ok. We are mounting a plaque to commemorate the passage of Hurricane Irma, a monster Cat 5 hurricane, on 06 September 2017. What does the plaque say? Since we at it, we should bury a capsule close to the Central Administration Building (CAB) to be unveiled in a 100 years on September 2118. Among other things, the capsule should include 1) a summary of government preparation and readiness before the storm 2)government action during the event, 3)government action immediately after the storm, 4) government action in the months leading up to the 1st anniversary and 5) planned actions for resiliency and recovery.

    To me, the commemorative plaque is a feel good exercise yet I’m not averse to its erection. But what I really want to see and hopefully what my fellow Virgin Islanders want to see is a plan of action and milestones to 1)improve residents live, 2)return the territory to relative normalcy, 3) progressively advance the state of the territory, 4) diversify the economy, and 5) prepare and maintain the territory in a high state of readiness.

    Let’s us lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.

  6. worker says:

    after one whole year of working in unsanitary conditions without a.c i don’t care about a plaque

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