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TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, CMC – A senior British government official ended a visit to the British Overseas Territory urging Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith to “expedite the recovery” of the hurricane battered island.A government statement said the director for the Overseas Territories in the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Ben Merrick, ended a visit here after “a full program of meetings and visits” including holding talks with Smith, the opposition as well as members of the private sector.Merrick’s visit followed an earlier one by Lord Ahmad in July “to assess the progress of recovery following the devastating hurricanes of 2017”.The island was among several Caribbean countries battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria when the storms hit the Lesser Antilles last year, causing deaths and widespread damage.The statement said that Merrick’s visit was also to discuss recent international requirements on the financial services industry and the long-term vision, and to ascertain the progress on implementing the governance measures to which the government has committed itself.Merrick said had “the privilege to meet many committed people during my time in the Virgin Islands and have been struck by both the beauty of the Territory and the determination and resilience of its people to work towards its reconstruction.“I am humbled by the commitment of the many public servants who continue to work and live in very difficult conditions, whilst they work towards rebuilding the Territory. The extent and breadth of the work needed to rebuild the Territory cannot be underestimated.“There are though evidently many challenges which remain, and I have urged the premier and his Cabinet to expedite recovery,” Merrick said, adding that the United Kingdom “remains ready to support the Virgin Islands through the £300 million (One British Pound =US$1.29 cents) loan guarantee.”Merrick said the Parliament giving approval to the Recovery and Development Plan, he hopes that “we will see rapid progress as the government tasks the Recovery and Development Agency to implement the Government’s priorities as outlined in the Recovery and Development Plan”.He said he was also pleased “to see the government’s progress towards transparency and accountability.“Publication of Cabinet decisions had been an important first step,” he said, welcoming Premier Smith’s commitment to publishing a new Ministerial Code before the end of the month.“This would show the Virgin Islands leading the way,” the statement said, adding that he was welcomed the positive engagement of business leaders and the financial services industry and their commitment to the Territory’s economic development.
US goalkeeper Tim Howard is preaching vengeance ahead of their opening 2014 World Cup finals match against Ghana.The Everton first choice goalkeeper was between the sticks when Ghana eliminated the Stripes and Stars at the last World CupGhana striker Asamoah Gyan struck in the first half of extra-time to send the Black Stars through to the quarter-finals.Howards says their painful elimination is still fresh on their minds and that should motivate them to beat the four-time African champions in Natal on 16 June.“I think the memory will still be very fresh of the loss in the Round of 16 in 2010. I think that will help us more than it will them.We’re a much stronger team than we were, and they’ll know that going into the game. We’ll look to set that result right.” US have played Ghana twice in a row in the World Cup finals and have lost all by a 2-1 scoreline.