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UK military recognised for service to British Virgin Islands

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WICKHAM’S CAY II, Tortola, VI – During a joint press conference with His Excellency the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert and Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) on Thursday October 5, 2017, the UK military was recognised for their service in the territory with a VI Badge of Honour.
“I don’t think neither myself nor anyone under my command has ever seen anything like the devastation and catastrophe that’s happened here,” said Lieutenant Colonel P. Maynard, Commanding Officer for the 40 Commando Royal Marines, following the press conference at Ritter House.
The 40 Commando Royal Marines left the territory on October 6, 2017.
According to Governor Jaspert, the majority of the military personnel will leave the territory over the next few days.
However, between five to eight very specialised technical engineer consultants will work closely with the Minister for Communications and Works in advising, supporting and helping with recovery, according to Lieutenant Maynard.
The 40 Commando Royal Marines initially worked on securing the prisoners that escaped from Her Majesty’s Prison that was badly damaged during the hurricane.
“… It was very much for security reasons and supporting the police and reinforcing them to make the territory safe,” Lieutenant Maynard explained.
The commanding officer further explained that after security issues were partly resolved, they also assisted in distributing emergency relief supplies to communities in need as well as aided in infrastructure repairs and cleaning of schools, churches and roads.
“We have absolutely loved working with the locals. The locals are British people. We are British people. We are your armed forces. We are the British military and it’s been a real delight to come here and support fellow Brits,” emphasised Lieutenant Maynard.
“CoP is an outstanding member of authority”- Lieutenant Maynard
Commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel P. Maynard commended the Commissioner of Police (CoP), Michael B. Matthews for an impressive job done during this time.
He said, “For the record, I think the police commissioner is a hugely outstanding member of authority. I have nothing but respect for him… He leads his police force to be the best that they can.”
“I’ve been humbled by the support…” – Steven J. Norris
Meanwhile, Steven J. Norris, Captain of the RFA Mounts Bay was also honoured. The vessel has been stationed in the territory following hurricane Irma to aid in supplying relief items and to provide search and rescue.
The captain informed our news reporter that the RFA Mounts Bay was in territorial waters within 48 hours after the passage of hurricane Irma to deliver relief supplies to Peebles Hospital.
“I’ve been humbled by the support of the islanders in receiving there aid and working with us to get that aid distributed,” said Captain Norris.
He further stated that the vessel will be stationed in the territory for three years and providing assistance to the other Overseas Territory as well.
“We are a part of the UK’s commitment to the Overseas Territories,” said Steven J. Norris.

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