Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool has supported a controversial decision the British Virgin Islands recently made not to accept help from a British Navy ship in cleaning up the territory after a tropical wave last Monday caused widespread landslides and flooding.
Members of the public criticized Premier Dr D Orlando Smith when he last week indicated that the vessel, RFA Mounts Bay, which is already in the Caribbean, was advised that its help is not needed at this time. The premier also told residents: “30,000 BVIslanders and residents versus 400 British crew taking care of our territory; let us all show our BVI pride!”
Meanwhile, Vanterpool, in an interview with BVI News Online yesterday, said enough people and equipment already are in the territory to do the cleanup.
“If we have a disaster that we need the ship to help us, we will call them because they are very handy. What we had to do after the [tropical wave last week], I don’t think there was any need for the ship to come.”
“We have equipment, we have people who can do the work and it’s been done. We don’t expect to have it done overnight; it is only seven days since this [tropical wave] happened. So we are comfortable that we have the right teams to get it done. We assessed the damage and, if we had emergencies and other things that we needed the ship to help us with – which they have done in the past, we will call them.”
Vanterpool continued: “We had enough people, enough equipment, enough workers in the BVI to get it (the cleanup) done. It’s not really about pride; it’s about being able to do your own work yourself. You don’t need to [get help] when you don’t have to. If you need help, you call for help. We have more equipment in the BVI here than we can handle right now. I haven’t even deployed all the equipment that we have in terms of private systems.”
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