Government said it is working to implement a specialized communication system that will maintain contact between the four main islands when traditional telecommunications networks are knocked offline.
Communications Minister Mark Vanterpool gave the indication yesterday during a public consultation with residents of the Ninth Electoral District. The meeting was held on the sister island of Virgin Gorda.
“We are looking at a better system of communication even on each island … so we can communicate. That’s a system that we need to develop,” said Vanterpool.
He said government also wants to equip police and fire departments on each island with a system that will assist them in ‘getting around’ and disseminating information quickly during times of disaster.
This initiative is being implemented in light of the September 2017 hurricanes that left the sisters islands virtually cut off from the main island of Tortola.
Weeks without communication between islands
During the meeting where residents were invited to give feedback on government’s proposed recovery plan, Virgin Gorda residents claimed that they were cut off for weeks without any official means of communication.
While recalling the dark days on Virgin Gorda following Hurricane Irma, one resident emphasized the importance of having communication equipment that is operational during disasters.
“Let’s be honest. In a modern world, communication is a foundation of many things. It is difficult to assist, to supply, to help if you don’t know what’s needed; if you don’t know what’s the situation on the ground,” the resident told members of government.
According to Communications Minister Vanterpool, the island did not have so much as a satellite phone until after the category 5 disaster.
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