OPENING REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
BUSINESS RECOVERY WORKSHOP
MARIA’S BY THE SEA HOTEL CONFERENCE ROOM
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen good morning;
It is my pleasure to bring opening remarks at this very important workshop on Business Recovery Operations.
We all know that businesses are essential to any economy.
In fact, businesses help to provide services that meet the needs of the public. And, they help with circulating monies throughout the economy.
I often say that Government cannot build this economy alone or make it sustainable on its own, it takes the public and private sectors working together to make progress.
That is why it is heartening to know that this workshop is being organised through a public-private partnership between the Department of Disaster Management and Tropical Shipping.
Furthermore, I am pleased to learn that this workshop brings together representatives of local businesses through the support of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association and the various Rotary Clubs in the Territory.
I commend the Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo and her team for always seeing the need to create partnership.
One of the mantras of my Government is to ensure that all businesses have greater access to training, and I am pleased this Business Recovery Operations workshop is one such opportunity that has been extended towards that goal.
I believe that strengthening business capacity means exposing people to new ideas that will allow for continued effective operations of their establishments following any disaster.
The more prepared our people are, the better they are with facing the unknown. In essence, today is about strengthening and developing business capacity.
I must express my sincere gratitude to Chief Executive Officer of Tropical Shipping, Mr. Rick Murrell and his team, Jennifer Nugent-Hill and Leroy Moses; as well as Sally Yearwood, Executive Director of Caribbean Central America Action, who have made this workshop possible and have covered all associated costs to ensure full participation by the business community.
I congratulate members of the business community who are here today to take advantage of this learning experience.
Your presence here today says that you understand that the capacity of any organisation to recover from a disaster is directly related to the degree of Business Continuity Planning that has taken place.
My role in the Disaster Management Programme is to support the areas of hazard mitigation and recovery planning through the Virgin Islands Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy.
I am therefore very aware of the work that is needed in the event of any hazard impact,to ensure that the BVI business community can recover quickly and resume operations with little downtime.
Industry analysts claim that two out of five businesses that experience a disaster will go out of business within five years of the event.
These statistics highlight the necessity of all of us taking a proactive approach and pre-emptive actions to bounce back or reduce the impact of hazards or disasters on business operations.
After you have received this training, I want you to continue to take advantage of other learning opportunities to strengthen your businesses.
And in that regard, I remind you that the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College has been offering Business Continuity Training, with the Department of Disaster Management. The Department of Disaster Management, also along with the BVI Red Cross, has developed a Business Emergency Response Training Programme that is now being offered to all local businesses.
I urge all of you here today to engage them and obtain the necessary support needed to develop and test your business continuity plans and to ensure that your staff is able to prepare for, and respond to incidents that might occur on the job.
I expect that this workshop will be one that will open our eyes to the challenges that exist as a result of business interruptions.
I am confident that you have the right facilitators here today who will share their knowledge and experiences with you.
I look forward to continuing these efforts to ensure that we are building SMART businesses throughout the Virgin Islands.