Another government minister has sought to defend the claim that the Dr D Orlando Smith-led administration collapsed after Hurricane Irma.
Premier Smith was to first to dismiss the claim as ‘fake news’. Communications Minister Mark Vanterpool is now defending that Government was locked in meetings as early as one day after the September 6 hurricane.
He said the two members of Opposition, Andrew Fahie and Julian Fraser, can also attest to sitting in some of those meetings.
“I’m not sure who can ever say this government collapse. We were right in action. We met sometimes twice a day. The ministers were out taking care of the areas that they had to take care of… So, to say that this government collapsed is a huge misstatement,” Vanterpool said.
The government minister reasoned that he and the Premier had even gone to survey the sister islands two days after the storm.
“We got on a helicopter that was provided by the British government to fly to Anegada, fly on Virgin Gorda, fly over Jost Van Dyke, come back to Tortola; and we went back to meetings that same day to make sure that this country was running… So anyone saying that this government collapsed after Hurricane Irma – I’m not sure where they were living or where they got their news from.”
Vanterpool also said that he held community meetings days after the hurricane.
“I literally took a bullhorn and went around the village in Lower Estate and in Huntums Ghut telling people what was happening; inviting them to meetings. I had about three or four meetings at the bandstand during that period of time,” he said.
Some residents lamented that government had collapsed after the territory went days without proper security, causing widespread looting.
Government was also said to be missing in action because of what many describe as the dangerously late implementation of the state of emergency.