Greetings to all the people of the British Virgin Islands.
I am your Premier, Dr. D. Orlando Smith and I am here to speak to you briefly about the 2012 hurricane season.
Hurricanes are indeed powerful storms with the potential to produce significant storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. It is important that all communities know how to prepare for each of these hazards.
Many experts report the findings of storm research, but many Virgin Islanders, including myself, can speak from personal experiences that Hurricanes such as Donna, David, Gilbert, Hugo, Marilyn and Earl have left with us with. I strongly urge individuals, families, businesses and mariners to take the time now to get prepared and remain watchful.
A disaster caused by a hurricane can happen at any time. It is therefore incumbent upon us, the people of the Virgin Islands, to understand that Disaster Preparedness is a very personal thing and adhering to the highest level of preparedness as prescribed by the DDM and other agencies is crucial to our personal and economic survival.
I have already begun my preparations and, I urge you to do the same. As we plan for this Hurricane Season, we need to be mindful of one basic fact that while the Government of the Virgin Islands will mobilise all the resources necessary to ensure continuity of business and the orderly running of the Territory, our resiliency will strongly depend on how well we are all prepared.
For DDM Disaster Mitigation is their business. In times of disaster, many other agencies of government as well as non-government organisations, mobilise to address and help soften the impacts; but it is your attention to the preparedness message at the individual and community level that determines how well the Territory withstands and recovers from the impact of a hurricane.
We need to prepare our homes, families, and businesses to cope with the destructive power of this sometimes devastating natural event. Ladies and gentlemen, let there be no mistake, it is only through pre-event planning that we and our families and neighbours will come through safely, that property damage will be reduced, that lives will be saved, and that recovery will be speedily executed.
In closing, let us remember that careful preparation can make a huge difference. Each type of emergency has its own set of challenges, and while we always hope and pray for favorable conditions, we must always be prepared for the unexpected. We can never become complacent.
I strongly urge you to continue your preparations today and to remain vigilant throughout the hurricane season.
Stay informed about hazards that may impact the Territory and listen closely for information and instructions from the DDM or government officials.
For more information about how you can prepare for the season, I encourage you to log on to bviddm.com.
Thank you and have a safe 2012 Hurricane Season.