BVI News

Communications desk set up for sister islands

Joint heads of the National Emergency Operations Committee Governor Augustus Jaspert, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and DDM Director Sharleen DaBreo

The National Emergency Operations Committee (NEOC) said it has not abandoned Virgin Gorda, Anegada, or Jost Van Dyke and that a communications desk is set up for those three islands.

It added that alternative means such as satellite phones are being used to communicate with residents on these islands, while telecoms are being restored there.

Virtually all telecommunications were obliterated on the sister islands when Hurricane Irma passed through the territory this month.

“British telecommunications officials were here and they have a VSAT system to setup in Virgin Gorda and that would have been today but, with the passage of [Hurricane] Maria, obviously we need to protect those resources. Information is getting into Virgin Gorda. We are making sure that they are able to get the updates and this is being done through the committee. So, there is a desk here at the NEOC that’s focusing on getting information over to the sister islands,” said Sharleen DaBreo who jointly heads the NEOC with Governor Augustus Jaspert, and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.

DaBreo was speaking at a press conference in Road Town this week; ahead of Hurricane Maria.

While also giving remarks at the conference, Governor Jaspert said a number of satellite phones have been distributed to the sister islands to keep them in the loop.

“I am hugely grateful that the United Kingdom government has sent us satellite phones which [were] distributed to keep communications going. As people know, one of our major difficulties is communicating when lots of the networks went down,” the Governor said, adding that the sister islands are important.

“The residents there should be reassured that every single day the Premier and I meet with other Cabinet members as well as with district representatives. And we work through the situation on the sister islands – across all of them – to ensure that all the preparations as well as the response is as effective as it is anywhere else in the territory.”

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