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BVI may evacuate citizens from Puerto Rico, USVI

Health minister Ronnie Skelton

Minister of Health and Social Development Ronnie Skelton said the government should consider evacuating British Virgin Islands citizens who are in the hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

He wants charter flight to be available for those citizens, and possibly ferries for others in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) who want help in returning to their homeland.

The United States-owned Puerto Rico and USVI have been battered by category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria, prompting President Donald Trump to schedule an October 3 visit to those two countries.

The British Virgin Islands was also severely affected by the two hurricanes.

Commercial ferry service this week recommenced between the USVI and the British Virgin Islands.

But commercial flights are yet to resume between those two countries as well as Puerto Rico.

During a Government radio programme this week, Skelton, in response to a question posed by a resident, stated that the British Virgin Islands can help its citizens who want to escape the devastation in other countries.

“I think if there are a number of Virgin Islanders who are not subject to immigration control who live in Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands – if they are sufficient so that we can send a charter flight to take them out of Puerto Rico because Puerto Rico is hit badly. So, if we need to get our people back home, things like that we can do.”

“We [could] send a boat or ferry to the US Virgin Islands to pick up our own people just like how the US sent planes and boats here to pick up their people to take them back to the US. We can do those things,” Skelton said.

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