Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has said he is pleased with the pace at which hurricane recovery is being undertaken in the British Virgin Islands.
He, however, said there is room for improvement.
“Yes, I am satisfied with the pace. I think everything can happen more quickly. But, remember we are at a stage where we had a disaster and everything is damaged,” Dr Smith said while responding to questions from members of the media yesterday.
His statement may come as a surprise to residents since a number of critical facilities such as police stations still need to be repaired.
Repairs and reconstruction of these properties seem to be delayed partly because public and private entities are struggling to retrieve building-material imports from the cargo facility in Port Purcell.
There is a process
The Premier explained that the BVI Ports Authority has been undertaking 20 times more than its usual cargo load since the hurricanes.
He said the government is working to find the best solution to address the overload at the cargo port.
Dr Smith also said repairing buildings such as police stations is not as ‘clear-cut’ as it may seem
He said behind-the-scenes work such as developing cost estimates and planning must be done before commencing construction.
“There are many factors which would cause us to proceed at the rate that we are going but the fact is that we are addressing all these issues and that’s the process,” he said.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused considerable damage to the BVI last September and five months later, a number of residents are still homeless, roofless, and even jobless.
Furthermore, a number of facilities that provide emergency services, as well as schools structures and hurricane shelters are still closed following the impact of the hurricanes.
However, there has been considerable progress in post-hurricane cleanup and reopening businesses in the private and public sectors.
Students are also being taught in make-shift structures while schools are being repaired or reconstructed, and a number of residents have received assistance in returning to normalcy after the disasters.
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