Business View Caribbean | March 2019

17 BUSINESS VIEW CARIBBEAN MARCH 2019 O n Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma came screaming through the Caribbean, leaving total devastation in its wake. The British Virgin Islands were blindsided by the full brunt of the storm that day, and the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), through its main facility, Peebles Hospital on Tortola, became a beacon of light, literally. In the immediate aftermath, the hospital had electricity and some semblance of internet, so residents and stranded tourists could contact their loved ones. The doors were opened, people were fed. Many slept there because it felt safe and secure. The fact that the building stood up to Category 5 winds that basically flattened everything around it is a testament to the high quality of its design and construction. The hospital became the communications point; even the central government was operating from inside the facility. All that, and the unprecedented amount of critical medical care provided, was a huge factor in BVI’s return to some sort of normalcy. Natasha Lettsome, BVIHSA Marketing & Communications Manager, experienced the hurricane first-hand and recalls, “Afterward, people were just so grateful to be alive. There was so much love and positivity moving through the community. I think that was one of the reasons we rebounded so quickly. We were all just so thankful of having survived. The resiliency of the BVI is all about our people.” Lettsome was living in a house nestled on the side of a hill with a fabulous view of the sea, when Irma made landfall on the BVI as a Cat. 5. She shares, “All the windows and doors upstairs blew in. It seemed to go on forever. When the eye of the hurricane came over my community and we came outside and looked down the hill, we thought that everybody down there must be dead because you couldn’t see where the sea started and the land stopped. Everything looked like ocean, The BritishVirgin Islands HEALTH SERVICES AUTHORITY THE HEALING POWER OF POSITIVITY