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Early Recovery Assistance: Overseas Territories

Volume 641: debated on Monday 21 May 2018

The United Kingdom is strongly committed to supporting the recovery of the British overseas territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last September. Through the conflict, stability and security fund we committed £72 million to support the immediate needs of the affected territories from September 2017, of which £15 million was approved on top of the initial commitment of £57 million to support early recovery needs. This allocation was first brought to Parliament’s attention in the written ministerial statement made on 14 December 2017; Official Report, Vol.633, columns 30-31WS [HCWS355] following the Joint Ministerial Council on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 November. This funding, supplemented by Foreign and Commonwealth Office programme funds, supported overseas territory Governments in meeting their immediate needs.

The overseas territories directorate has led on disbursing this funding in consultation with overseas territory Governments, to achieve the following early recovery deliverables each worth over £100,000:


1) Repairs to educational infrastructure in Anguilla, with a value of up to £344,000 for phase 1, ensuring there is sufficient space for examinations, language tuition and theatre productions. This work is still ongoing.

2) Orders worth £1,170,000 that provided Anguilla with a temporary air traffic control tower, fencing and ground lighting which contributed to the recertification of the territory’s airport.

3) Reimbursement to the Government of Anguilla for £2,740,000 of invoices for island-wide waste clean up, interim infrastructure repairs and generator/electrical works for school buildings, and buildings costs on the Anguilla fire and rescue services building.

4) Repairs and safety equipment for Her Majesty’s prison, totalling £211,000.

British Virgin Islands

5) Promotion of employment in the construction sector in the British Virgin Islands, worth £363,000. This project is supporting the reform of the labour market and laws, as well as vocational training (construction and maritime) to prepare for the recovery and to promote more resilient building practices.

6) Immediate repairs to housing for vulnerable families with inadequate insurance coverage, worth at least £1,260,000 This project is working with the British Virgin Islands Government plan to repair 70 to 100 homes and provide technical advice to use the repairs to spearhead the BVIG US$15 million housing recovery programme.

7) A temporary magistrate’s court, worth up to £320,000. This will provide secure premises for tackling the backlog of criminal cases, increasing public confidence in visible and effective rule of law while longer-term criminal justice infrastructure is addressed.

8) Ongoing prison infrastructure repairs worth up to £676,000 to restore perimeter and internal fencing, roofing and locking systems, so that prisoners and staff have secure and decent living and working conditions.

9) The repair of seven reservoirs on the British Virgin Islands, worth up to £1 million, that will restore the potable water network and enable basic water access for the majority of the population.

10) Repairs to the sewage and waterworks infrastructure and the procurement of maintenance vehicles to prevent it falling back into a state of disrepair, worth up to £1.1 million.

11) The deployment of UK police personnel at a cost of £1,008,000 to provide surge support for law enforcement and support the Royal Virgin Islands police force to sustain public order.

12) A programme of further support to meet the immediate capacity building needs of the Royal Virgin Islands police force, currently worth £1,349,000 with plans for continuation of training and leadership development support during the coming year.

Turks and Caicos Islands

13) Ongoing and planned prison infrastructure repairs worth up to £580,000 to repair perimeter lighting and install internal zonal fencing, improving movement and management of prisoners, and enabling the temporary restricted regime in place since the hurricanes to be lifted.

14) Restoration of the radar system on the Turks and Caicos Islands, worth up to £350,000, enhancing border control and contributing to the security required for long-term recovery.

Cross-Territory Support

15) An order worth £5,296,000 that supported the electricity authorities in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands to restore power to both territories.

16) Orders worth £522,000 to provide uniforms and equipment for the police forces in all three affected territories.

17) The deployment of security personnel to TCI, BVI and Anguilla to fill staffing and capability gaps and support prison leadership and management. Support delivered in TCI up to the end of March 2018 (at a value of £475,000) has been extended (at a further cost of £119,000) to ensure basic safety, security and leadership development while repair work proceeds and TCI Government recruits additional staff. Additional personnel support to Anguilla from the same organisation (£217,000) has provided enhanced leadership planning and capability following the impact of the hurricanes. Support to BVI at a value of £194,000 has provided interim support until the arrival of the Scottish Prison Service in April 2018 to assist with enhanced security and management measures.

18) The provision of technical assistance and advisory support on recovery worth £547,000.

19) An order worth up to £1.2 million to provide equipment for the tackling of the spread of vector-borne diseases across the affected OTs, which will be funded from the FY 2018-19 OT CSSF programme.

The provision of this assistance was in line with the Government’s hurricane recovery objectives for the overseas territories. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials, along with UK Government advisers oversaw the procurement and delivery process. Where applicable, memoranda of understanding have been agreed with the Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands and British Virgin Islands Governments to cover their responsibilities once ownership has been transferred.

In November 2017 the Prime Minister confirmed a further £70 million package of recovery and reconstruction support. £10 million of this has been allocated to the British Virgin Islands and £60 million to Anguilla. In the British Virgin Islands it will be supplemented by up to £300 million of UK loan guarantees. The British Virgin Islands House of Assembly has passed legislation to establish a recovery and development agency that will take this programme forward.

In Anguilla funds have been released for six priority projects, which the Government of Anguilla have estimated at approximately £10 million. The release of further funding by UK Ministers is conditional on agreement of a medium-term economic and fiscal reform plan to put Anguilla’s public finances on a stable footing for the long term.