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Most soldiers leaving within days

Photo Credit: Government Information Service

Most of the soldiers who arrived in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to assist with recovery efforts after passage of the devastating Hurricane Irma on September 6 are gearing up to leave the territory in the coming days.

Governor Augustus Jaspert made the announcement during a press conference in Road Town this morning. “The bulk of the military will leave over the next few days,” he said, adding that the crew will remain in the Caribbean for the rest of the hurricane season.

The governor also stated that some of the soldiers will remain in the BVI to help with engineering works. “A core team of specialist engineers will remain for infrastructural repairs…”

Governor Jaspert listed a number of activities being undertaken with assistance from the soldiers. “The military assistance received comfortably eased the efforts of BVI authorities to address a number of priority needs, which included providing relief supplies, restoring communications, supporting repair of utility infrastructure of the BVI Electricity Corporation, along with critical facilities including schools…”

The governor indicated that he is not sure how much longer overseas security personnel will maintain a presence in the BVI, adding that they are not only assisting with security issues.

He noted that overseas police officers will also remain in the territory when most of the soldiers leave in the coming days.

“The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force has done an excellent job, and will continue to be supported by United Kingdom police officers, and those from Cayman and Bermuda,” added Governor Jaspert.

Meanwhile, up to the end of September, the United Kingdom had sent 117 persons from its military and external police to the BVI. Its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies sent 76 security personnel, according to the Third Situation Analysis provided by the Department of Disaster Management and the National Emergency Operations Centre.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, during the press briefing this morning, presented a gift to a representative of the military.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard, who accept the token on behalf of all the soldiers, lauded his colleagues as well as members of the BVI community. “We are grateful for the way they (residents) have received us and worked alongside us,” he said, adding that residents have displayed much warmth and resilience.

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