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Bermuda takes in hurricane-hit Caribbean families 

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 27, CMC  – The Bermuda government has rolled out the welcome mat to families across the region whose homes have been devastated by hurricanes in recent weeks.
A family of four from the British Virgin Islands (BVI), who have relatives in Bermuda, were processed by the Department of Immigration and arrived here last Saturday, officials announced on Tuesday.
The department has also processed 12 work permit applications for staff from overseas-based companies which want to relocate to avoid disruption and more requests are being considered on a case-by-case basis.
Several islands were badly damaged as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean this month.
A department spokeswoman said: “Due to the serious hurricane damage inflicted to our neighbour islands to the south, Bermuda stands ready to assist any personnel from overseas-based companies in those areas seeking to relocate to Bermuda for the duration of any possible disruption.
“We have already received and processed 12 work permit applications, some of which have dependents — spouses and children — relocating with them.As was the case in 2004 and 2007, Bermuda seeks no gain from the possible misfortune of our neighbours. On September 23, the Department of Immigration landed a family of four non-work permit holders from BVI who have family working in Bermuda.”

She noted that persons relocating under the listed conditions –  either for work or generally, will be expected to return to their respective overseas territories as soon as conditions allow.
“The Department of Immigration processes requests as they receive them. Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis.”
The spokeswoman said the department would expedite short-term work permits for staff being brought in.
She said applications need to be complete, including the payment of fees, while local host companies should provide a list of all relocated staff and their dependents, their nationality, their expected length of stay, and their dates of arrival.
Companies may also need to consult with the Registrar of Companies, Bermuda Monetary Authority and Bermuda Bar Council over some aspects of their applications.
Meanwhile, a detachment of 30 Bermuda soldiers and six police officers flew to Turks and Caicos earlier this month on a mercy mission to help repair hurricane damage.
And a team of six linemen from the Bermuda Electricity Company (Belco) is scheduled to depart for the BVI on Wednesday.
The linemen were set to go 10 days ago but the approach of Maria forced them to delay their departure from Bermuda.
They will spend the next four weeks working with the BVI Electric Company to rebuild BVI’s electricity infrastructure and restore electricity.
Belco’s vice-president of grid operations, Dennis Pimentel, said: “I am extremely proud of these guys. This is no small task and will not be undertaken in an environment of comfort.
“Their expertise is going to be used to bring back some sense of hope to BVI residents as they work through the rebuilding of infrastructure and restoration of power.”

Mitchell lauds regional response to hurricanes

 

Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, September 26, CMC – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell Tuesday hailed the regional response to the recent major hurricanes in the Caribbean, saying it is further evidence of the need to continue to pursue the goal of regional integration.

Earlier this month Barbuda was one of several islands in the northern Caribbean that was battered by Hurricane Irma, prompting a call for a mandatory evacuation of the island by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.  Last week the powerful Hurricane Maria swept over Dominica, leaving widespread destruction in her wake.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

“I am heartened by the fact that the response throughout the region, within the limited means available to us has been swift and decisive,” Mitchell told the sixth annual meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Development Fund here.

“We don’t have a choice. Because the world in 2004 was a bit different than this one today.  The language from the north is certainly different than Grenada found it in 2004,” Mitchell said, in reference to his own country’s experience with Hurricane Ivan in 2004, which decimated the island.

The CARICOM Chairman warned that the road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, which will carry “a huge unenviable price tag”.

“We must therefore maintain the demonstration of solidarity I mentioned earlier on, and build on a momentum that was created post Irma and post Maria in the emergency relief and recovery phase,” he said, before departing for Dominica where he was expected to meet with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

Meanwhile CDF Chairman, Sherwin Williams told the meeting that the Fund stands ready to assist Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica with their reconstruction efforts in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria under the current funding cycle.

“While the official damage assessments have not yet been completed, we already know that the magnitude of this economic rebuilding effort will be far too great for the region to handle on its own; so we must also be able to attract external resources.

‘Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to invite interested development agencies present here and those who will otherwise receive this message, to partner with the CDF in designing and implementing economic reconstruction programmes in the disaster-stricken countries of the region. But we need to move quickly, since these programmes would need to start taking effect within the next few months,” Williams said.

According to him, these natural disasters provide the CDF with an opportunity to allocate some of the resources earmarked for country assistance programmes towards the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

“Indeed, it was contemplated when the Fund was set up that we would assist regions disadvantaged by reason of impairment of resources resulting from natural disasters,” Williams said.

CARICOM chairman calls for new approach to dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters 

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 26, CMC – Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Tuesday called on the region to re-think the “whole process” for dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Mitchell, along with CARICOM Secretary General Irwin la Rocque and the president of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, toured several areas devastated by Hurricane Maria when it slammed into Dominica last Monday, killing at least 27 people and causing widespread destruction estimated at billions of dollars.

“What happens after a natural disaster? We must re-think in my view the whole process. How do we integrate the efforts of the private sector or financial institutions, governments and all institutions in a post if disaster event.

“I still believe that we are literally doing guess work with not sufficient integration in the process. I believe this whole thing tells us there must be deeper planning and Secretary General it seems to me that one of major issues for Caribbean heads is how do we prepare appropriate,” Michell told a news conference.

He said that given the situation where the Caribbean has been hit by several hurricanes in the recent past, it is not now a question of if, but when.

“A lot of the things Dominica is going through today, probably should not have to go through it. There should almost be a system that takes off automatically. I am convinced that we have to do more than we have done,” he told reporters in the presence of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

The Grenadian prime minister said that on his visits to the other Caribbean countries that have been impacted by hurricanes so far this year, he found that “in the midst of all the destruction, in an area where all the buildings were on the ground there are one or two buildings that remained as though the hurricane never passed.

“What does that tell us? In fact I think it was Turks and Caicos that told us about an area where because of a previous hurricane all the houses were built back at a certain standard. The hurricane passed there again, all the buildings that were not built back were flattened and the ones that wee built back stood up.

“That tells us the whole question of a building code, a regional building code …because colleagues as I have said, it is not if, it is when,” he said, urging Dominicans to be united in the reconstruction of the battered country”.

He said that in terms of adversity, it was necessary for all citizens to put aside their differences and work together for the betterment of the island.

“I make a call…for our brothers and sisters of the opposition in the country to join hands with the government and I make a similar call to the prime minister to join hands with the opposition. There is enough time for the political divide,” he said.

Mitchell said the presence of the delegation to the island is to demonstrate the “Caribbeanness and spirit of love, camaraderie and the willingness to join with you in the rebuilding effort of your beautiful country.

Mitchell also took the opportunity to urge the international community to re-think its policies that have led to several Caribbean countries being regarded as those of middle income earners and “graduated away from concessionary financing when in one stroke we have gone back to zero.

“Grenada 200 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) in three hours, your case was five hours. We were set back to a road of absolute recovery from day one. So to tell us that we have done well, we are now middle income, I don’t know how they define it and we no longer should get concessionary financing makes no sense. It is a farce and that we have to call the bluff as it is and we need to have a united force, a united platform to send the message powerfully,” Mitchell told reporters.

During the news conference, Mitchell also dismissed the notion that climate change does not exist, telling reporters that as a scientist himself, the evidence is clear for all to see.

“I don’t understand anyone, maybe for political reasons you make such a statement, but I say deep down, I can’t see how you can deny the fact that climate change is real. The sea temperature rises is there for everyone to see and everyone knows a hurricane gains its speed, the hot air comes through the sea temperature ….that is physics it is there, I don’t know how you can deny it,” he added.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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Bermuda takes in hurricane-hit Caribbean families 

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 27, CMC  – The Bermuda government has rolled out the welcome mat to families across the region whose homes have been devastated by hurricanes in recent weeks.
A family of four from the British Virgin Islands (BVI), who have relatives in Bermuda, were processed by the Department of Immigration and arrived here last Saturday, officials announced on Tuesday.
The department has also processed 12 work permit applications for staff from overseas-based companies which want to relocate to avoid disruption and more requests are being considered on a case-by-case basis.
Several islands were badly damaged as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean this month.
A department spokeswoman said: “Due to the serious hurricane damage inflicted to our neighbour islands to the south, Bermuda stands ready to assist any personnel from overseas-based companies in those areas seeking to relocate to Bermuda for the duration of any possible disruption.
“We have already received and processed 12 work permit applications, some of which have dependents — spouses and children — relocating with them.As was the case in 2004 and 2007, Bermuda seeks no gain from the possible misfortune of our neighbours. On September 23, the Department of Immigration landed a family of four non-work permit holders from BVI who have family working in Bermuda.”

She noted that persons relocating under the listed conditions –  either for work or generally, will be expected to return to their respective overseas territories as soon as conditions allow.
“The Department of Immigration processes requests as they receive them. Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis.”
The spokeswoman said the department would expedite short-term work permits for staff being brought in.
She said applications need to be complete, including the payment of fees, while local host companies should provide a list of all relocated staff and their dependents, their nationality, their expected length of stay, and their dates of arrival.
Companies may also need to consult with the Registrar of Companies, Bermuda Monetary Authority and Bermuda Bar Council over some aspects of their applications.
Meanwhile, a detachment of 30 Bermuda soldiers and six police officers flew to Turks and Caicos earlier this month on a mercy mission to help repair hurricane damage.
And a team of six linemen from the Bermuda Electricity Company (Belco) is scheduled to depart for the BVI on Wednesday.
The linemen were set to go 10 days ago but the approach of Maria forced them to delay their departure from Bermuda.
They will spend the next four weeks working with the BVI Electric Company to rebuild BVI’s electricity infrastructure and restore electricity.
Belco’s vice-president of grid operations, Dennis Pimentel, said: “I am extremely proud of these guys. This is no small task and will not be undertaken in an environment of comfort.
“Their expertise is going to be used to bring back some sense of hope to BVI residents as they work through the rebuilding of infrastructure and restoration of power.”

Mitchell lauds regional response to hurricanes

 

Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, September 26, CMC – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell Tuesday hailed the regional response to the recent major hurricanes in the Caribbean, saying it is further evidence of the need to continue to pursue the goal of regional integration.

Earlier this month Barbuda was one of several islands in the northern Caribbean that was battered by Hurricane Irma, prompting a call for a mandatory evacuation of the island by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.  Last week the powerful Hurricane Maria swept over Dominica, leaving widespread destruction in her wake.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

“I am heartened by the fact that the response throughout the region, within the limited means available to us has been swift and decisive,” Mitchell told the sixth annual meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Development Fund here.

“We don’t have a choice. Because the world in 2004 was a bit different than this one today.  The language from the north is certainly different than Grenada found it in 2004,” Mitchell said, in reference to his own country’s experience with Hurricane Ivan in 2004, which decimated the island.

The CARICOM Chairman warned that the road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, which will carry “a huge unenviable price tag”.

“We must therefore maintain the demonstration of solidarity I mentioned earlier on, and build on a momentum that was created post Irma and post Maria in the emergency relief and recovery phase,” he said, before departing for Dominica where he was expected to meet with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

Meanwhile CDF Chairman, Sherwin Williams told the meeting that the Fund stands ready to assist Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica with their reconstruction efforts in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria under the current funding cycle.

“While the official damage assessments have not yet been completed, we already know that the magnitude of this economic rebuilding effort will be far too great for the region to handle on its own; so we must also be able to attract external resources.

‘Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to invite interested development agencies present here and those who will otherwise receive this message, to partner with the CDF in designing and implementing economic reconstruction programmes in the disaster-stricken countries of the region. But we need to move quickly, since these programmes would need to start taking effect within the next few months,” Williams said.

According to him, these natural disasters provide the CDF with an opportunity to allocate some of the resources earmarked for country assistance programmes towards the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

“Indeed, it was contemplated when the Fund was set up that we would assist regions disadvantaged by reason of impairment of resources resulting from natural disasters,” Williams said.

CARICOM chairman calls for new approach to dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters 

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 26, CMC – Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Tuesday called on the region to re-think the “whole process” for dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Mitchell, along with CARICOM Secretary General Irwin la Rocque and the president of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, toured several areas devastated by Hurricane Maria when it slammed into Dominica last Monday, killing at least 27 people and causing widespread destruction estimated at billions of dollars.

“What happens after a natural disaster? We must re-think in my view the whole process. How do we integrate the efforts of the private sector or financial institutions, governments and all institutions in a post if disaster event.

“I still believe that we are literally doing guess work with not sufficient integration in the process. I believe this whole thing tells us there must be deeper planning and Secretary General it seems to me that one of major issues for Caribbean heads is how do we prepare appropriate,” Michell told a news conference.

He said that given the situation where the Caribbean has been hit by several hurricanes in the recent past, it is not now a question of if, but when.

“A lot of the things Dominica is going through today, probably should not have to go through it. There should almost be a system that takes off automatically. I am convinced that we have to do more than we have done,” he told reporters in the presence of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

The Grenadian prime minister said that on his visits to the other Caribbean countries that have been impacted by hurricanes so far this year, he found that “in the midst of all the destruction, in an area where all the buildings were on the ground there are one or two buildings that remained as though the hurricane never passed.

“What does that tell us? In fact I think it was Turks and Caicos that told us about an area where because of a previous hurricane all the houses were built back at a certain standard. The hurricane passed there again, all the buildings that were not built back were flattened and the ones that wee built back stood up.

“That tells us the whole question of a building code, a regional building code …because colleagues as I have said, it is not if, it is when,” he said, urging Dominicans to be united in the reconstruction of the battered country”.

He said that in terms of adversity, it was necessary for all citizens to put aside their differences and work together for the betterment of the island.

“I make a call…for our brothers and sisters of the opposition in the country to join hands with the government and I make a similar call to the prime minister to join hands with the opposition. There is enough time for the political divide,” he said.

Mitchell said the presence of the delegation to the island is to demonstrate the “Caribbeanness and spirit of love, camaraderie and the willingness to join with you in the rebuilding effort of your beautiful country.

Mitchell also took the opportunity to urge the international community to re-think its policies that have led to several Caribbean countries being regarded as those of middle income earners and “graduated away from concessionary financing when in one stroke we have gone back to zero.

“Grenada 200 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) in three hours, your case was five hours. We were set back to a road of absolute recovery from day one. So to tell us that we have done well, we are now middle income, I don’t know how they define it and we no longer should get concessionary financing makes no sense. It is a farce and that we have to call the bluff as it is and we need to have a united force, a united platform to send the message powerfully,” Mitchell told reporters.

During the news conference, Mitchell also dismissed the notion that climate change does not exist, telling reporters that as a scientist himself, the evidence is clear for all to see.

“I don’t understand anyone, maybe for political reasons you make such a statement, but I say deep down, I can’t see how you can deny the fact that climate change is real. The sea temperature rises is there for everyone to see and everyone knows a hurricane gains its speed, the hot air comes through the sea temperature ….that is physics it is there, I don’t know how you can deny it,” he added.