Along with the destruction of ‘countless’ businesses and subsequent job-losses, the island of Virgin Gorda saw a significant drop in its population following the two category-5 hurricanes last September.
That is according to Sister Islands Programme Coordinator, Vincent Wheatley.
He painted a grim picture of the second most-populated island in the territory.
“Pre-hurricane Irma and Maria, Virgin Gorda’s population, I would say, was about 4,000. Right now, it’s probably less than 3,000,” Wheatley said during the Honestly Speaking radio programme yesterday.
“We lost a lot of persons and, needless to say, we lost countless businesses. It is just so hard on these people because these businesses will not be reopened anytime soon. The earliest is later this year but it’s looking more like next year.”
Wheatley also bemoaned the hard impact to the island’s revenue stream.
Like the rest of the territory, Virgin Gorda relies heavily on tourism.
“It is really sad to see what happened to Little Dix Bay that was just remodelling and getting ready to open for December last year and to be totally destroyed by Irma in September. We also lost places like Saba Rock, Bitter End, Biras Creek Resort, and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) so we are talking about hundreds of persons immediately out of work.”
The Valley on a high
However, Wheatley said things are looking ‘a little better’ in the Valley on Virgin Gorda. He said a number of businesses have reopened since the disasters.
Businesses such as Top of the Baths, Coco Maya Restaurant, Fischer’s Cove, Chez Bamboo in North Sound and Leverick Bay are now back up and running.
He further said Hog Haven is expected to be operational by the end of January.
“We are still looking forward to having new businesses reopen [too],” Wheatley noted.
He said the yachting sector associated with Virgin Gorda is also showing signs of life.
“We are also seeing boaters coming back, persons who have been coming to Virgin Gorda for the last 40 years; even though the place is not 100 percent, they are back,” Wheatley stated.
He said these persons are interested in assisting the island and its residents and are doing all they can to ensure the acclaimed ‘gem of the BVI’ returns to its former glory.
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