WASHINGTON, USA — British Virgin Islands premier and minister of finance, Dr Orlando Smith, has called on the international community to support the recovery and reconstruction of the BVI after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The premier made the call at a high-level roundtable on the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the Caribbean and at a meeting of the Small States Forum at the annual World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington, DC.
Speaking at the High-Level Caribbean Roundtable on October 13, Smith said, “As we complete our reconstruction plans, the BVI is keen to work with the UK, private sector and our international partners to ensure a successful recovery that leaves us more resilient than before.”
Other speakers at the roundtable event included World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim and UK Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, among many others.
At the meeting of the Small States Forum on October 14, Smith said, “We certainly appreciate international efforts to make development finance and technical assistance available to us to finance rebuilding. However, soft loans can only comprise a part of the financial mix. Grants will also be needed.”
Commenting on the meetings attended, Smith said, “It was critical that the BVI was present at the top table of international development to build support for our recovery and reconstruction and to show solidarity with fellow Caribbean territories and countries also affected by the recent hurricanes.”
Smith also attended a special meeting on building climate resilience in the Caribbean after the recent hurricanes, co-chaired by chairman of the Small States Forum, Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, and Sir Richard Branson.