- Written by The BVI Beacon
- Published: 28 September 2017
After Hurricane Irma devastated hundreds of buildings across the territory, the government is planning to review the Building Code with an eye toward making it stronger, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith announced Monday during a “town hall meeting” broadcast on ZBVI Radio.
“This hurricane that hit us is the scale we have never seen before,” Dr. Smith said. “It was a Category Five, and it was really devastating. Interestingly just before that, we had intense flooding, again, such as we never had before in the BVI.”
Blaming the back-to-back disasters on global warming, the premier stressed the need to prepare for an uncertain future.
“We have to take lessons from what has happened, certainly with Irma and review our building codes,” he said. “We have lost and received damage to about 70 percent of our buildings, and that now gives us an opportunity to build smarter and stronger.”
A few months ago, the premier added, he received a copy of the first draft of a new building code because he had some concerns about the way buildings were being constructed.
“But now we have to review that again, and when we do that we will want to involve the community and get your contributions so that in the end, we will be able to build stronger and better,” he said.
Marlon Penn, the junior minister for trade, investment promotion and consumer affairs, agreed.
“We have an opportunity to rebuild and to do new things and rebuild green,” he said. “Our rebuilding efforts have to take into effect the impact of global warming, as we have seen the impact of global warming first-hand.”
Archie Christian, the junior minister for tourism, suggested that Category Five hurricanes could become increasingly common in the future.
“We have a number of engineers here in the territory, as well as those from the region and internationally, but it can’t be business as usual anymore when it comes to building,” he said. “We need to be building bunkers now that can withstand a Category Five hurricane and above.”