Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering has said local legislators deserve some credit for the work they facilitated, so far, to help haul the British Virgin Islands out of hurricane devastation.
He made the remark recently while responding to widespread claims from residents and even legislators that the pace of recovery has been underwhelmingly slow.
“We’re here killing ourselves instead of being thankful for how far this country has come and the blessings that God continues to bestow on this country. If we don’t be careful, another plague is going to hit us because we ain’t no different from the children of Israel. We had a problem, we were given a reprieve, and there is a solution that we can move forward and all we are doing is complaining,” Dr Pickering said.
“This country has come a tremendously long way in a year’s time. We must give ourselves credit where credit is due. It’s almost sinful for us to be thinking that we could have [fully] fixed this country back in a year’s time. I’ve been to many of these international meetings and I’m told that Hurricane Irma is a one-in-2,000 years type storm. Hurricane Harvey was a one-in-500 years storm. A one-in-2,000 years means that it’s going to take another 2,000 before the world sees a storm like Hurricane Irma,” he added while noting that a number of persons in the international community are impressed with the BVI’s recovery progress after a year.
The government legislator went on to note all the funds that government released to facilitate the initial phase of recovery.
Those he listed include $15 million towards housing recovery and another $5 million to bolster security and the local magistracy after the hurricanes.
Dr Pickering, who is the minister responsible for natural resources, even noted the capital that was used to help restore the now-booming marine sector.
“The little money that had been allocated to our ministry; we spent literally all of it cleaning up the marine sector. The Junior Minister of Tourism pointed out that the marine sector was probably the hardest hit. Eighty to 90 percent of all boats in the BVI were damaged or destroyed and I am told now by all yachting companies that they are expecting bumper season. Why? Because we’ve done something to help clean up the marine environment.”
“We need to count our blessings … The country is being restored. It isn’t as fast as we’d like it to be but all of us know that it was going to take five to seven years,” Dr Pickering said.
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