By Colene A. Penn
ROAD TOWN, BVI — The director for Overseas Territories in Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Ben Merrick, begins a four day visit to the British Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
His visit will focus on governance, financial services and the post-hurricane recovery of the BVI.
While in the territory, Merrick will meet with the premier and minister of finance, Dr Orlando Smith, the Cabinet, the leader of the opposition and members of the financial services industry.
He will also visit several government departments and agencies, including the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Department of Disaster Management, the BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Airports Authority and the Recovery and Development Agency.
The Overseas Territories director will also see the impact of the significant financial and technical support from the United Kingdom since last year’s hurricanes, including helping to rebuild the territory’s infrastructure, namely water and electricity services, the courts, the police, the prison and housing repairs for some of the most vulnerable in society.
Merrick will also discuss how the UK’s further offers of grant funding and loan guarantees will be used to support BVI’s recovery and development.
Merrick’s visit follows an earlier visit by the former minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad in July. Merrick is due to depart the BVI on Friday.