Expatriate worker Richard Stein said he saved two lives when Hurricane Irma smashed into the British Virgin Islands last year. But, he said the Immigration Department has rewarded his valour with an order to leave the territory.
According to the UK national, he went to the Immigration Department last week and revealed that he was laid off after the hurricanes.
He said he had time to remain in the territory up to August 2018 but Immigration officials instructed him to leave in two weeks.
Stein was only three weeks in the territory when the British Virgin Islands saw two of its most destructive hurricanes in modern history.
The Dive Instructor was employed by a local company that was based at Peter Island Resort and Spa. However, it was ravaged by the hurricanes and has since closed for repair works.
I saved lives on Jost Van Dyke
In an interview with BVI News on Tuesday, Stein − a boat owner− said he used a VHF (very high frequency) radio on his vessel and single-handedly sent out a distress call to the United States Coast Guard and the Royal Navy to assist impacted residents on the island of Jost Van Dyke.
The coast guards responded and brought troupes, relief supplies, and helicopters to the island.
He said his distress call led to the rescue of an elderly woman known as Gertrude and another injured woman. They were transported out of the territory for medical treatment, he told BVI News.
“No one had food, people were literally starving. I saved people’s lives and to turn around and to say p*ss off … It just seems like a kick in the nut. It’s like saving lives does not get recognition,” he said.
Honoured to help
However, the UK national said he was happy to have helped residents in their time of need.
“It was an honour to serve the people. I don’t really talk about it that much, I just try to be humble about it,” he continued.
Stein admitted that he loved the BVI and would like to remain to help with recovery efforts.
“Obviously, I am not a millionaire so I can’t survive forever without working. But it would be nice to work in the territory and to help out more.”
Stein currently lives on his boat in West End.
Fahie wants answers
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie will be challenging the government about why select expatriates who lost their jobs after the hurricanes are still being sent from the territory even though other local employers are willing to hire.
He will be putting questions to the Premier Dr D Orlando Smith on the issue when the House of Assembly sits on Thursday, March 1.
Since the hurricanes, the Immigration Department has been the subject of much criticism, for what is being described as cumbersome policies and procedures.
Calls to Immigration up to press time this morning went unanswered.
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