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Premier eyes UK financial support to help rebuild

Premier Orlando Smith. File photo

Nedburn Thaffe – Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith has said that the British Virgin Islands will be counting on its mother country – the United Kingdom (UK) – to provide financial support to help rebuild the territory.

His statement comes at a time when the UK is being criticized for what has been described as its lacklustre response to help the BVI and other Overseas Territories damaged by Hurricane Irma.

“Rebuilding an entire territory is no small undertaking,” the Premier said in a statement this afternoon.

“A comprehensive economic package for reconstruction, backed by the UK Government will be needed over the long-term in order to return to normalcy.”

Premier Smith said he was confident that with support from the UK the territory can return to its glory days.

“I have every confidence that through the resilience of the people of the BVI and the support of our British partners, we will achieve this. I look forward to hearing more from the UK Government about its plans for working with us to ensure this happens in timely fashion,” he said.

Business Support

Turning to the business side of things, he said the BVI has begun working with the private sector to ensure “the business and financial services sector is able to function in good time.”

“Many overseas offices have come together to support the BVI and work out the best way of continuing to provide vital business services remotely until the BVI is in a position to bring them back substantively on the Island.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the contribution they are making and the efforts being made to help this part of the BVI economy get back on its feet,” he said.

Noting that the tourism industry is more heavily dependent on structural facilities, the Premier said it will take time for the territory to be in a position to welcome tourists.

“However, we are in close touch with our partners in the cruise and hotel industry, and of course our tourism colleagues  overseas.  We will continue to provide updates as we move forward,” he said.

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