Prince Charles stands on the hurricane-ravaged Elmore Stout High School campus. (Picture courtesy BVI News.)
TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands – The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles made his first visit to the British Virgin Islands on Saturday for a first hand look at the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Accompanied by British Member of Parliament Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade, the Prince briefly toured Tortola and met local communities to hear about the ways they have been recovering since the BVI was hit by the hurricanes.
Charles also 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,” said the BIV Government in a statement late Saturday.
Prince Charles who is also the President of Red Cross, visited the local branch where he was introduced to several volunteers, including Deniese Gardener, “who risked her life in the middle of the storm, along with two others, to rescue a local woman”.
This was Prince Charles first official visit to the BVI and the first Royal visit since the Duke of Gloucester in March 2012, the statement said.
“I was honoured to welcome His Royal Highness to the Virgin Islands to show him the devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Governor Augustus Gaspert.
“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,” the governor added.
“It is important that the Virgin Islands, our challenges and our recovery remain at the front of people’s minds around the world,” Gaspert continued. “There is still a lot to do, and I continue to work with the premier to ensure we progress with the recovery plan.” (CMC)