Office of the Chief Minister

Beat the Y2K bug!!!


BVI Y2K Status

Y2K Progress to Date
Y2K Project - Monthly Progress Reports
Y2K National Contingency Plan
Y2K Milestones
Y2K Status Statistics
Regional Y2K Readiness Survey Results
Y2K Food Contingency Proposal for the British Virgin Islands
Submitted to the Y2K Steering Committee by the Dept. of Agriculture
Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan Update
26th November 1999
Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan Update
15th December 1999

Government Departments
and Statutory Boards

Links to Private Company Websites
Based in the BVI

Articles by Private Companies
About Their Y2K Compliance

Y2K Progress to Date

2nd December 1999

The main revenue created in the British Virgin Islands comes from the Financial sector and the Tourist Industry. As such, it is vital to the Territory to reassure the public and the world that the British Virgin Islands is working on the Millennium Bug (Y2K) Problem. We have an extensive Government Y2K project in place, which includes assessment and monitoring of both the public and private sectors of the Territory. As part of the project a large Public Awareness campaign is under way to educate the public, assist local businesses and to promote our progress to the world.

All critical sectors in the BVI are being assessed for Y2K compliance. This includes the airports, emergency services, health care, food suppliers, fuel suppliers, water supplies, charter companies, hotels, banks, phone companies, and several others. As part of this assessment we are ensuring that all sectors (private and public) have contingency plans in place. Many of these are based on the existing disaster plans that are in place throughout the Territory.

The commercial banks in the Territory are all Y2K compliant with extensive contingency plans in place.

The electricity company is also Y2K compliant having created a Y2K Contingency plan, taken a Y2K inventory of all equipment and software, tested, upgraded, and retested where necessary, contacted its suppliers and major customers about their Y2K compliance, and carried out full year 2000 running tests.

The telephone company (Cable & Wireless) is compliant and has contingency plans in place.

The emergency services, including the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue are manual, apart from the use of VHF radios, which do not have a Y2K issue. However, these emergency services have created Y2K Contingency Plans in case of utility problems.

The hospital is compliant and is currently working on a Y2K contingency plan, based on their existing disaster plan.

The food suppliers on the island have approximately 4 weeks supply of food for the Territory and have contacted their suppliers and shipping companies for Y2K information. The BVI Government has initiated a Y2K Agricultural Contingency Plan to produce approximately 4 weeks worth of fresh food for the Territory at the beginning of 2000.

Beef Island airport is Y2K compliant with new some new equipment having been installed. The airports in the BVI have also been independently assessed for Y2K compliance by an organisation representing the FAA.

There should be no water supply problems in the BVI as December and January are usually fairly rainy (short showers early every morning). Also, the three desalination plants on the island are Y2K compliant and so will be able to produce water if they have electricity. Most buildings in the BVI have cisterns for storing water. The Water and Sewerage Department of the BVI Government has created extensive Y2K Contingency Plans in case of Y2K problems affecting the desalination plants.

Many hotels in the BVI are looking at how Y2K may affect them and planning for any problems. The charter companies have also been asked to check their systems and create contingency plans.

The Government’s Y2K project has completed the Y2K assessment of Government departments, Statutory Boards, schools and colleges and is now helping small private companies assess their Y2K compliance.

The BVI is very used to preparing for possible disasters, such as hurricanes, getting through them and then getting back to normal quickly after a disaster. We do not foresee any unrest in the BVI as the population here is very organised and relaxed about life.

Below are more details about the critical aspects of the Government’s Y2K Project

Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan Update
26th November 1999

The Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan Project is now under way. The latest update shows that capital equipment and supplies have been purchased, including tractors, water tanks, irrigation supplies, seeds, fertilisers and so on.  Twenty-seven farmers from Tortola, twelve farmers from Anegada, and nineteen farmers from Virgin Gorda had been enrolled to participate in the Agriculture Y2K Project by 26th November 1999. The construction of poultry brooders started on 22nd November 1999. Farmers have started planting crops, but this was delayed by hurricane Lenny. Planting of sweet potatoes, water melons, lettuce, parsley and cabbage has started at Paraquita Bay.

Additional staff have been employed to oversee the Y2K plan and help farmers with planning and preparation. The Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr. Julian Fraser, has held meetings with the farmers to explain the Y2K plan, and with members of the BVI Hotel and Commerce Association to encourage them to take part in the Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan.

The supermarkets have shown committment to selling local produce, and hotels and restaurants are keen to purchase local produce.

Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan Update
15th December 1999

More than 80 farmers throughout the Territory of the BVI have agreed to take part in the Y2K Agriculture Contingency Plan. Planting of crops is under way. These crops include:

Cantaloupe and Honey Dew Melons
Sweet Potato
Pak Choi
Sweet Pepper

A total of 7200 seedling have been grown ready for planting. These include Eggplant, tomato, parsley, celery, cabbage, pak choi, sweet peppers, hot peppers, chives and lettuce. The following crops have been planted at the Department of Agriculture, Paraquita Bay: Sweet potato, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage and parsley. The following crops have been planted at the Department of Agriculture on Virgin Gorda: Tomato, Sweet corn, cucumber and sweet potato. Other crops have been planted by farmers throughout the Territory.

A target production of 25 tons of poultry has been set. Brooders have been constructed, poultry litter, vitamins, waterers and feed have been ordered, and the first batch of 2500 chicks is due for delivery before the 31st December 1999. These chicks will be brooded, by the department of Agriculture, for two weeks before being sold to the farmers for production. "

Y2K National Contingency Plan

A document has been drafted by the National Y2K Project Leader concerning risk areas in the BVI and recommended contingency plans in case of Y2K problems to these areas. A Y2K Policy Sub-Committee has been formed to complete the Y2K National Contingency Plan. The final plan should be ready for presentation by the 15th December 1999.

Public Awareness Campaign

The Y2K Public Awareness Campaign started in April, with full page articles going into the BVI Beacon and Island Sun, under the column heading of "Beat the Bug". Since then adverts and articles have appeared in both newspapers, on a weekly basis.

Since the commencement of the Y2K Public Awareness campaign, Y2K workshops have been carried out for local businesses, church officials, the media, and legislators; radio interviews have been give; talks have been given at the two Rotary Clubs and Ladies club; talks have been given at the BVI High School, and local churches; brochures have been sent out to local companies; posters have been created; leaflets and flyers have been distributed to every PO box in the BVI and to many businesses and Government offices; a TV programme about the BVI’s Y2K Project was broadcast; and newspaper interviews given.

The Project Leader is currently running short Y2K seminars to all Government employees, to educate them on the Y2K Bug, how it could affect the BVI, and what the Government is doing to prepare for it.

Critical Services

All critical services in the public and private sector have been assessed by the Y2K project. These include water companies, food suppliers, fuel suppliers, banks, Trust Companies, medical centres, the hospital, pharmacists, the airports, telephone companies, electricity company, emergency services, hotels, charter companies, Travel Agents, airlines, computer companies and security system suppliers.

BVI Customs Y2K Status 

"All computer systems in use with BVI Customs are Y2K compliant and power back-up is provided in the event of utilities loss. Many Customs functions are manual and therefore not directly affected by Y2K. Contingency plans are in place to cover any impact on Customs work caused by problems with outside systems and utilities."

Food Suppliers

The major food suppliers in the BVI have been contacted with reference to the Y2K problem. All of the major supermarkets have a Y2K programme in place which includes the assessment and testing of equipment, contacting suppliers, assessing storage facilities, and contingency planning.

The total reserve of food in the supermarkets amounts to between three and four weeks under normal conditions.

Fuel Suppliers

There are two main fuel suppliers in the BVI – Shell & Delta. Shell, who also supplies the Electricity Corporation has a large Y2K programme in place and are currently working on contingency planning if there are fuel supply problems to the territory.

Shell will be ensuring that the BVI fuel storage facilities are full at the end of December 1999.

Water Suppliers

All water companies in the BVI have been contacted in reference to Y2K compliance. These cover private and public water companies. Most houses, and several offices and hotels, have cisterns where rain water is stored and used by the householder.

There is a Government water supply to some areas of Tortola. This supply is not computerised, and hence has no Y2K issue.

There are three desalination plants in the BVI; one Government owned and two private owned. All companies have computerised monitoring systems attached to the desalination plants. All companies are Y2K compliant.

Other sources of water in the BVI come from wells below the ground. These, again, are not computerised.

Civil Aviation

The Civil Aviation Department has contacted suppliers of all equipment associated with Beef Island Airport. Suppliers of all critical equipment have responded. These systems are compliant. The BVI’s three airports are now Y2K compliant and the Civil Aviation authority has created a Y2K Contingency Plan.

An independent Y2K assessment was carried out on behalf of the OECS in July 1999. The report showed no problems.


The BVI Electricity Corporation have carried out an inventory of their
hardware, software and embedded systems. They have also tested all systems
for Y2K compliance and updated software and hardware where necessary. All
systems are now Y2K compliant. BVIEC have also checked the Y2K compliance
status of their main suppliers and customers, plus created a Y2K Contingency


The hospital has made an inventory of all its equipment that may be affected by Y2K and has contacted suppliers about Y2K compliance. This equipment has been certified as Y2K compliant. The hospital is also in the process of developing a Y2K Contingency Plan based on their current Disaster Plan. The hospital have a generator with a limited number of days of fuel to run it. They also have a emergency supply of water to last a few days. As part of the contingency planning, the hospital will identify any short falls. As part of the Y2K programme, they are also contacting the pharmacies and drug suppliers to ensure no disruption to the supply of medicines, vaccines, and dressings etc.


All highstreet banks in the BVI have Y2K programmes in place and are Y2K compliant.

Emergency Services

The emergency services in the BVI are not computerised, and nor is the 999/911 emergency system. The Police, Fire & Rescue, and Ambulance services are currently inventorising any equipment they have that might be affected by Y2K.

Fire and Rescue Y2K Status

"...a survey was carried out on all Fire and Rescue Service Department equipment in July 1999 by the Y2K Project Office to determine Y2K compliance. The outcome was that all equipment was in Y2K compliance"


The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Y2K Status

" 1. Contingency plans for public order and civil unrest are already in place and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

2. Command and control of the police response will be in compliance with the BVI National Disaster Plan and will operate under the guidance provided in the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Major Incident Procedure Manual.

3. A Police Major Incident room will be established at Road Town Police Station and will be linked to the Office of Disaster Preparedness if and when the need arises.

4. All leave for police officers will be suspended between 27/12/1999 and 03/01/2000 in the first instance.

5. Communication will be maintained using the normal radio and telephone system. Should the system fail, messengers will be implemented.

6. Installation of generators will be complete at the police stations.

7. Fuel storage will be filled to capacity.

8. Spare parts including tyres will be purchased for the vehicles

9. A cash float will be sought for emergency local purchases in the event of the financial computer crashing

10. ... canned food and drinking water will be purchased for the entire Police Force.

11. Additionally, the normal hurricane disaster supplies will be held at all police stations. In any event, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force will be prepared to survive a crisis for at least one month."

Hotel & Commerce

All the major hotels and charter companies have been contacted, describing the BVI Government’s Y2K project, and asking for a status report on their Y2K preparedness. The BVI Hotel & Commerce Association is also working towards educating their members about Y2K by planning a workshop.

Financial Services

The Companies Registry has carried out an assessment of its computer systems and software. It has contacted vendors and manufacturers in reference to Y2K compliance and is in the process of testing the systems.

Contingency Planning

All Government organisations and critical private companies have been asked to prepare contingency plans even if their systems are compliant. Many organisations already have Disaster Plans in place which get implemented each time we prepare for and recover from a hurricane.

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Beat the Y2K Bug!!!

Y2K Project
Chief Minister's Office

Government of the British Virgin Islands
Central Administration Complex

33 Admin Drive,
Road Town, Tortola,
British Virgin Islands
Telephone: 284-494-3701 x 2626       Facsimile: 284-494-6413

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This page was last updated on: 12/30/99 03:42:38 PM