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The Prince of Wales visits Antigua and Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands to meet communities affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria

18th November 2017

The Prince of Wales sees the hurricane devastation in the British Virgin Islands

The Prince of Wales sees the hurricane devastation in the British Virgin Islands

The Prince of Wales has visited Antigua and Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands to see how communities are recovering following the widespread devastation in the region caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Prince arrived in Antigua yesterday and was greeted by the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, and the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.

In Antigua, which escaped the worst of the storms, The Prince visited a centre for Barbudan evacuees and heard about how the community helped to support those evacuated. Many Antiguans have helped the neighbouring islanders by opening their homes to evacuees and donating clothes and food.  

On Friday evening, The Prince of Wales attended a reception in the Antiguan capital of St John’s.

His Royal Highness said: “As you recover and move forward, you can be sure, Ladies and Gentlemen, that you are not alone. The plight of those who have been through such terrifying devastation and are still enduring such dreadful privation is close to the heart of Her Majesty The Queen and, indeed, to my own.”

HRH with the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, and the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne

HRH with the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, and the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne

Today, The Prince of Wales travelled to the island of Barbuda to see the devastation first-hand and meet survivors and charity workers.

 The first stop on Barbuda was Holy Trinity School, visited by Prince Harry last year, which was severely damaged and has been now abandoned by staff and pupils.

 His Royal Highness saw the destroyed classrooms, now strewn with books and other schoolwork, and heard about the recovery effort.

 Barbuda had a population of 1,700, but now less than 100 people remain on the island.

 Arriving in the British Virgin Islands in the afternoon, The Prince visited the Youth Empowerment Project, which helps equip young people with practical life skills for living in difficult situations. 

 

His Royal Highness met those working for the Red Cross, including volunteer Jaikarron Persaud. Jaikarron spent two weeks camping at the British Virgin Islands Red Cross Centre in Road Town, Tortola, supporting people who had been affected in his community. 

At a reception for organisations and individuals who played their part in

helping during the aftermath of the natural disaster, The Prince met Sir Richard Branson, who remained in his home on Necker Island when the storm struck in September.

Sir Richard Branson said: ”As far as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are concerned the people were magnificent in the way they pulled together, everybody's helping everybody.

"People have lost their homes and others are putting them up, everybody's helping trying to get water back and electricity back on, and it's been tremendous."

On Sunday, The Prince of Wales will continue his visit to the Caribbean in Antigua and Dominica. Follow #RoyalVisitATG and #RoyalVisitDMA for updates.

A speech by The Prince of Wales at the Governor-General’s Reception, Antigua

Published on 17th November 2017

Your Excellencies, Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I need hardly say that it gives me the greatest possible pleasure to be with you all this evening and to return to these remarkable Islands which I first came to know more than forty years ago whilst serving in the Royal Navy, on what was then known as “The West Indies Station.”

 

That seven month deployment enabled me to visit and get to know many of the island states in the region. It was an unforgettable experience, made even more unforgettable by the fact that, unlikely as I may seem, I found myself as part of my ship’s cricket team – an indication of just how desperate they were to put together a side! The result was that I ended up trying to play cricket against a local team on each of the islands we visited. This was in many cases a thoroughly alarming experience as the local bowlers were dangerously fast, the wickets like concrete and the subsequent balls ricocheted at high speed into your face and chest. Consequently, the Islanders invariably triumphed and probably later became Test cricketers for the West Indies!

 

Since then, I have cherished very special memories of this region – of its breath-taking beauty and the tremendous warmth and generosity of its people – and I have never ever underestimated their astonishing prowess as cricketers!

 

And so it was painful beyond words to see the devastation that was so cruelly wrought across the Caribbean by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in those few terrible weeks in September.

...

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