US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp announced on Oct. 16 the creation of an expert advisory committee to help guide reconstruction and resiliency efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The VI Hurricane and Resiliency Advisory Group, under the Office of the Governor, includes local officials and community members, as well as business and environmental experts, and thought leaders from around the United States.

Under the governor’s direction, the group will perform a quantitative assessment of the hurricane damage and outline risks facing the USVI from potential future natural hazards looking ahead 30 years, including how those risks may evolve with climate change. They will also set the course for the USVI’s long-term security and economic recovery, with a special focus on making the territory’s critical infrastructure, homes and businesses more resilient to future storms and other natural disasters.

The VI Hurricane and Resiliency Advisory Group will also focus on:

  • The ongoing planning, coordination and implementation of USVI response and recovery efforts across the human services, infrastructure, housing and economic sectors.
  • The development of a centralized process to attract, coordinate and leverage federal, private-sector and philanthropic funding and volunteer efforts.
  • The development and implementation of a coordinated economic recovery plan, with a particular focus on the tourism industry and all related services.
  • Tracking and monitoring distribution and spending of federal disaster assistance funding and private donations, including the Community Fund for the Virgin Islands, administered by the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
  • The near- and long-term actions needed to increase the USVI’s resilience from natural hazards, including policy recommendations and guidelines and prioritization for infrastructure investments.

“We’re bringing together experts from many disciplines to help the U.S. Virgin Islands build back as fast and smart as possible to enhance the long-term resiliency and economic health of our islands, while protecting our communities from future storms,” Mapp said.

“The members of the VI Hurricane and Resiliency Advisory Group care deeply about our territory and will work hard alongside us to rebuild stronger and better than ever before,” the governor added. “I am tremendously appreciative and encouraged by the level of assistance and cooperation we have received.”

Clifford Graham , President and CEO of the West Indian Company port facilities and Havensight Mall on St. Thomas, will serve as Chairman of the group. Graham previously served two terms as a senator in the Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands, overseeing the Finance and Rules Committees, and was the long-time executive director of the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority.