Press Release

Premier's Office
BVI Electricity Corporation
Release Date:
Friday, 9 October 2015 - 4:30pm

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE has agreed for the deployment of persons to support the response and recovery efforts in the Bahamas, following a request from the Regional Response mechanism and the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC).

Following the passage of Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin a number of Caribbean Islands were affected including the Southern and Central Bahamas Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti.

Premier Smith said that his Government has received requests for assistance for personnel from the Department of Disaster Management and the BVI Electricity Corporation to provide immediate technical support to the Government of the Bahamas and has readily agreed to provide the necessary support

Premier Smith stated, “The Impact from a Category 4 hurricane can be significant and although there has been destruction in many of the affected islands, there has only been one death reported in Haiti.  We must be thankful for that.  We must now turn our efforts to supporting our brothers and sisters who have lost their homes, livelihoods and who are now living in very difficult circumstances.”

Hurricane Joaquin is also being blamed for the disappearance of a cargo ship El Faro carrying 33 people.  Although the ship planned to avoid Hurricane Joaquin its main propulsion failed sending the crew into the destructive storm.  A massive search in the Caribbean Sea has resulted in identifying a 225-square mile debris field, but no sight of the ship or survivors.

The Premier said the loss of loved ones can be very difficult for families. He added, “It is important that we as a Territory remain in a constant state of readiness.  We are witnessing the impact of major destructive hurricanes on the Caribbean Islands and the only way to deal with these events is to remain in a constant state of preparedness and be ready to respond.”

The Bahamas has similar characteristics to the BVI with the geographical spread making some islands more vulnerable than others.  The impact in the Bahamas has been mainly to the southern and central islands which have resulted in evacuation of residents, hundreds are in shelters and a trail of damage and destruction to infrastructure, homes, roads and health facilities and making emergency coordination extremely difficult.

Premier Smith added, “We have a similar island structure in the BVI and we understand the challenges that a disaster situation can have on our sister islands.  As a medical doctor I also understand the need for immediate response in these types of situations.”

He added, “We are responding to the requests that have been coming from our Caribbean neighbors, firstly with the provision of support to the Commonwealth of Dominica and now we have sent personnel from the Department of Disaster Management and the BVI Electricity Cooperation to the Bahamas.”

The impact from Hurricane Joaquin has resulted in the activation of the Regional Response Mechanism through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the deployment of experts from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development as well as the deployment of the UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary Lyme Bay.


Jacqueline Archibald-Sylvester

Department of Information & Public Relations 
Telephone: 468-2739