The Prince of Wales visits Antigua and Barbuda and 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.”

The Prince of Wales visits the remains of Elmore Stoutt's High School in Road Town during a visit to the island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands
The Prince of Wales visits the remains of Elmore Stoutt's High School in Road Town during a visit to the island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands

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.