STATEMENT FROM BVI PREMIER DR. ORLANDO SMITH

Road Town, Tortola - Premier of the Virgin Islands, Hon Dr D. Orlando Smith, OBE has swiftly met with banks in the Virgin Islands to immediately address issues of cash flow as the Virgin Islands begins to quickly respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Out of the meeting, Premier Smith shared that banks have agreed to collectively open their doors for business on Wednesday, September 13 between the hours of 10AM – 1PM and have ATMs available for cash as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12.

“Our government fully understands the importance of ensuring that we quickly begin the arduous task of rebuilding our Territory, and so I have begun daily meetings with essential arms of our economy, social and civic make-up, so that we can work quickly to get the Virgin Islands back to normalcy.” stressed Premier Smith. Speaking to bank representatives from National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Scotia Bank and First Caribbean earlier today, Premier Smith expressed an immediate need for those banks to be up and running to support the rebuild of the Virgin Islands.

Speaking on behalf of Sjored Koster of VP Bank, President of the BVI Bank Association, CEO of National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Joy Francis said, “The banks are fully aware of the need to ensure cash is available and we have been working with each other and we are collectively confident about the cash on hand and our ability to provide that access to all of our clients.”

For the business community, the banks have confirmed that if employers have access to internet, they can run their electronic payrolls and salaries will be made to employees’ accounts so employees can have access to cash via ATMs. For employers running manual payrolls, the banks have agreed to assist business owners to ensure salaries can continue to be paid.

Given the infrastructural damage to the Territory, the islands have now become a dominantly cash economy. The banks have given Premier Smith assurance that they can provide the cash in the economy that is needed and have already triggered their back up plans.  The banks will be meeting with Premier Smith again this Wednesday, to discuss plans for loan reprieves for both businesses and personal accounts. Premier Smith reaffirms that his administration will be working proactively with the business community to spur on the Territory’s rebuilding process.