Today His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles made his first visit to the British Virgin Islands to see for himself the devastation caused by the three unprecedented events: the Tropical Wave and Hurricanes Irma and Maria. He was accompanied by Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade in the UK.
He was welcomed to the Territory by His Excellency the Governor Agustus Jaspert and the Premier, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE. During his visit he briefly toured the island with the Governor to see some affected areas on Tortola. He then met local communities to hear about the ways they have been recovering since the islands were hit. He visited the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), which has fought back since the storms to get up and running. There he met some of the young people who have been a part of new support programmes which encourage them to talk about storm experiences and equip them with practical life skills to cope with difficult living conditions.
As President of the Red Cross, he also visited the local branch to see some of the fantastic work of the volunteers and the difference this has made to people’s lives. There he was introduced to a number of volunteers, including Deniese Gardener who risked her life in the middle of the storm along with two others to rescue a local woman. He was also shown the Emergency Food Bank and heard about their work in shelters, both of which have been supporting families across the Territory.
This was his first official visit to The Virgin Islands, and the first Royal visit since the Duke of Gloucester in March 2012.
Governor Augustus Jaspert said, “I was honoured to welcome His Royal Highness to the Virgin Islands to show him the devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Their destructive force was unprecedented and the lives of many on the island are still challenging but with the incredible community spirit and support from friends overseas we are now on the road to recovery. It has been inspiring to see the resilience of our community over these last two months and it was my pleasure to share this and a few stories of the heroic acts since then with His Royal Highness. It is important that the Virgin Islands, our challenges and our recovery remain at the front of people’s minds around the world. There is still a lot to do and I continue to work with the Premier to ensure we progress with the recovery plan.”