Kim Hollis QC, DPP of the British Virgin Islands launches a fund raising appeal on behalf of the BVI government
The Caribbean was recently struck by the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Atlantic. Hurricane Irma rampaged through the region leaving a trail of near-total destruction in its wake. Of all the Caribbean islands hit the British Virgin Islands (BVI) were amongst the worst affected.
The images conveyed by both news channels and social media show the BVI has been devastated with a great many made homeless. Unfortunately, whenever the BVI enters the public domain it usually attracts attention as a luxurious holiday retreat for the very wealthy. This has the [regrettable] effect of diverting public attention away from the fact that the majority of inhabitants of the BVI fall into low to middle-income brackets. As a result of the hurricane, the overwhelming majority of BV islanders have either lost or suffered severe damage to their homes and with that most - if not all - of their possessions. Many of the BVI’s inhabitants have been without proper shelter for weeks now and are still suffering from the traumatic effects of Irma.
The BVI is an important jurisdiction for many barristers and solicitors in England and Wales. Following Irma the BVI faces an uphill battle to restore its infrastructure, basic living standards, and its economy - all of which have been devastated.
A crowd-funding appeal has been set up here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bvi-touristboardhurricaneirma
Additional support can be given by raising awareness using the hashtag #TESS.
#Tess is the DPP’s Great Dane puppy who went missing during the hurricane but was thankfully rescued by police officers visiting her evacuated – and by then destroyed - house in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Tess was found guarding the DPP’s bedroom - as she has been trained to do - and was over the moon to have been both found and given something to eat and drink. As you can imagine everyone is very proud of Tess - and of course, relieved. So it was decided that the hash-tag TESS or “trying everything to save survivors” reflects not only the attachment of the BV islanders to their community but their unbounded sense of civic duty. So please, we ask you all to give as generously as you can and make the difference to the inhabitants of the BVI at this very difficult and challenging time.