Department: Department of Disaster Management
The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season is expected to be active and Government agencies in the Virgin Islands continue to make preparations to Be Ready and Stay Ready.
In a meeting of the National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) held last week, committee chairpersons provided updates to the Chairman, His Excellency the Governor John J. Rankin, CMG and co-Chair Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie.
Some of the key actions taken so far to ensure that the Territory will be ready this hurricane season include completing a Continuity of Government plan, clearance of ghuts and waterways, and testing of emergency plans within the Public Service. These and other preparedness efforts were raised when the NDMC received reports from subcommittees regarding the work accomplished since last year in the vital areas of health, finance, governance, the environment, education, transportation, and public awareness.
The Governor said that although substantial progress has been made in overall recovery since the impacts of 2017, the Virgin Islands cannot afford to be complacent in the face of what is expected to be an active hurricane season.
“A huge amount of work has been done since 2017 to get BVI back up and running, but we must never be complacent when it comes to preparing for hurricanes and other potential disasters,” Governor Rankin said.
He went on to say, “As Governor, I hold responsibility for security, including in the area of disaster preparedness. It is a responsibility that I take extremely seriously to ensure the safety of the people of the Virgin Islands.”
Premier Fahie applauded the work done so far to ensure the Virgin Islands is as prepared as it can be for the hurricane season. He encouraged public officers and all Virgin Islands residents to keep putting necessary arrangements in place.
“We all must continue to join hand-in-hand in this preparation for the hurricane season. We pray God’s blessings that there will be no hurricanes. We will continue to prepare because preparation is always key,” Premier Fahie said.
The NDMC is the inter-agency body that sets Territorial disaster risk reduction policy. This body is responsible for carrying out actions that are in keeping with the Virgin Islands Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategic Plan and the National Disaster Management Plan. The group includes Permanent Secretaries, the Financial Secretary, and the Director of Communications as well as leaders from key government departments, statutory bodies, and non-governmental partners.