Speaking at the launch, Diana Wilson Patrick, General Counsel, CDB, noted that the project is a further extension of CDB’s efforts to help BVI recover from the impact of the extreme weather event. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Bank provided an Emergency Relief Grant of US$200,000, and Immediate Response Loans totalling US$2.25 million.

“It was with a sense of some pride that the management and staff of the Caribbean Development Bank were able to work with our counterparts in the Government of the Virgin Islands to have financing towards the proposed rehabilitation and reconstruction activities approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors on December 14, 2017,” she said.

“This was a mere three months after Hurricane Irma caused the loss of four lives and an estimated US$3.6 billion in damage to homes, schools, infrastructure, public administration and defence and several other sectors; disrupting the lives of the country’s men, women, boys and girls.”

Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. Orlando Smith said that the project was timely, as it will assist with recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

“It is time to get our livelihoods back on track. It is time for us to get on with the several projects and initiatives that are identified for each ministry in the loan agreement. And, it is time to weather proof our infrastructure and rebuild it in a way that offers some resiliency to unprecedented weather patterns,” he said.

He went on to note that the funds provided will help to restore economic stability to the British Overseas Territory.

“Today’s project launch signals that we are moving full steam ahead, and getting on with it, so that we can put this Territory in a much better place tomorrow than it was yesterday, and is today. My government is now ready to begin injecting this money into the economy to rehabilitate and rebuild our schools, our roads, our ferry terminals, and other infrastructure, working hand-in-hand with CDB, as well as our local contractors and others to this end,” said Dr Smith.

The components of the project include road rehabilitation; the construction of schools and coastal defences; improvement of water and sewage facilities; and capacity building for the provision of psychosocial support and disaster risk reduction. Implementation is expected to be completed over a three-year period.