By anguillian November 27, 2017 11:57 Updated




As life returns to normal in Anguilla, following the ravages of Hurricane Irma, first responders and other persons in the public and private sectors have been thanked for their patriotic service at a reception at Government House.

The event, on November 16, brought together a considerable large number of officials from the Governor’s Office, the Anguilla Government and the community at large. A special guest among the gathering was Mr. Ben Merrick, Director of the British Overseas Territories, who came to Anguilla particularly to see the various recovery efforts and to discuss, with Government officials, the needs of the island and the continuing assistance being provided by the United Kingdom Government.

Governor Tim Foy, OBE, in welcoming the gathering, spoke of his own experience of Hurricane Irma, and expressed his thanks and appreciation to all persons for their hard work and commitment in a very difficult situation. The Governor, himself, came in for much commendation for his involvement and team work in the recovery process – and for handling the matter so well. He was especially accorded the commendation given the circumstances that he had newly taken up his appointment just prior to the hurricane – his first major challenge in Anguilla.
Chief Minister, Victor Banks, joined in offering “a big thank you” to everyone. “I know that those who were involved in the relief and recovery immediately after Hurricane Irma did it because they realised it was important for Anguilla to return to a level of stability – and it could only happen with their participation,” he stated. “It is important that we recognise that we are all in this together, and if we do not demonstrate that we are willing to make the sacrifice, and a difference, nobody else would want to make it for us.

“The Governor has been my teammate in this effort as the representative of Her Majesty’s Government. As the Leader of Government Business in Anguilla we inevitably must come together to negotiate a way forward for Anguilla, in times like these, and I must say that his support has been encouraging. To my mind, he has gone beyond the call of duty to assist us. I keep saying to him that he is going to work himself out of a job.

“However, this event is about what all of the people of Anguilla have done. We have invited a number of you here who were among the first responders to be involved in the recovery efforts and were part of the Emergency Operations Centre; the Red Cross; the relief coordinating effort; the Police, Customs and Immigration Departments, the Fire Department and Emergency Units. I also thank the teachers because we were able to open the schools…I must congratulate everybody for the way that they dug in to make things happen. We are here to say thanks because gratitude is important. I thank the Governor, in particular, for the role he has taken – but certainly there are a number of agencies, and in particular the British Government, to thank as well.”
The Chief Minister continued: “We are going to negotiate and we are going to struggle and fight for the next couple of weeks and months to get the best deal for Anguilla. British taxpayers are the ones who are going to support us, and the UK Ministers and Members of Parliament have got to convince their people that Anguilla is part of the UK family and they must step up to the plate to help Anguilla.”
Mr. Banks took the opportunity to welcome to Anguilla, for the first time, the Director of the British Overseas Territories, Mr. Merrick whom he met at the recent Joint Ministerial Council.

Mr. Merrick said he was one of the crisis leaders at the Foreign Office when Hurricane Irma hit Anguilla on September 6 and in charge of the operations. “Among the things that emerged was the seriousness of the impact on Anguilla and other territories,” he reported. “It was not only a physical impact, but also an economic impact and it is something that I [and the other Ministers] are conscious about – and that we should work together in partnership [with the Government of Anguilla] to address.

“The next point is really the impressive progress that everyone has made. I think initially the response that everyone gave was hugely impressive across the board. Coming to visit, now, it is so clear how much is involved and it is really inspiring to see so many people here. I met people at the political level, the economic level; those involved in education in terms of infrastructure; and the linesmen. It was a huge range of different people who were involved and it is quite clear to me the sort of progress that has been made. There was really evidence of the sort of leadership that the Chief Minister and the Government of Anguilla showed during the crisis – as well as the Governor and all the organisations.”
Mr.Merrick also praised the resilience of the Anguillian people and their resolve in the restoration of Anguilla.
Deputy Governor, Mr. Perin Bradley, also addressed the gathering. “I want to specially thank the public service, for the role that they played in the immediate response and the members of the National Disaster and Management Committee,” he said. “I am so proud of the way the public service responded to the crisis. Next year is going to be a very difficult year. A lot will be asked of the public service and we all have to be on the same team to work together and try to recover Anguilla as best we can.”

The invited persons at the thank you reception were most appreciative of the thoughtful gesture and the commendation they received from the speakers.

By anguillian November 27, 2017 11:57 Updated


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