Statement

Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
BVI Airports Authority
Topics: 
Agriculture, Airports
Release Date:
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 - 5:16pm

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS BY THE MEMBER FOR THE THIRD DISTRICT
TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER
AND MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
DR. THE HONOURABLE KEDRICK D. PICKERING
TUESDAY 13TH JUNE 2017

The Member for the Third District to ask the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour the following questions:

Question 1

Madam Speaker, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House:

  1. If he has a program in place to deal with the nuisance of cattle roaming the streets and worst, destroying people’s property?

 

Madam Speaker, the Pounds and Livestock Brands Act, 2004 provides for the implementation of a loose livestock program through the impounding of animals.  This Act was passed in the House of Assembly and gazetted in December 2004.

Although the Act is in place, the Department is still restricted by what it can do legally.  Regulations are still required to adequately facilitate due process in the administration of the Act.  For instance, gaps exist in animal and owner identification and the imposition of fees for impounded animals.  Despite these constraints, the Department is carrying out the program as practicably as possible.   Known cattle owners, for instance, are engaged and implored for their cooperation and voluntary compliance on a consistent basis.  Priority areas like the Ridge Road, East End and Lambert Bay area are routinely patrolled by the loose livestock team and particularly when complaints are received.

  1. Explain in detail how the program works, from the moment a call for help is made until the animal is reunited with its owner, or slaughtered?

Madam Speaker, with respect to the question of how the program works; animals that are captured are impounded and time is afforded for claims to be made. According to the Pounds and Livestock Brands Act, 2004, after twenty-one (21) days if an animal’s owner does claim it or pay the prescribed fine, the animal is forfeited to the Crown.   The Act gives the Chief Agricultural Officer the discretion to sell the animal, slaughter and sell it as meat or dispose of it in any other manner that the Chief Agricultural Officer sees fit. 

In practice, a few animals are actually claimed but sometimes accurate owner identification is difficult. The Department is responsible for animals that are not claimed.  Although slaughter is an option it is restricted because supermarkets can only absorb a limited quantity of meat at a time.  Consequently, the department is often times left with cattle which must be pastured and tended.  In that respect, one of the major constraints for the Department is a critical lack of holding capacity or pasture space to cater for loose livestock that are impounded and have to be kept by the department for protracted periods.

Persons who find livestock straying onto the private property or in a public place also have the option of contacting the police for assistance. Owners that cause or allow their animals to stray are committing an offence, and once convicted are liable to be fined between $500 to $1,000 and to pay compensation ordered by the Magistrate for injury, loss or damage arising from the offence. 

Question 2

Madam Speaker, with regards to the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport Runway Extension, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House:

  1. When was the consultant or consultants first commissioned to conduct the study on an extension?

Madam Speaker, in 2009, the BVI Airports Authority set out to tender the development of a Master Plan for the Territory’s three (3) airports. This Master plan included many aspects inclusive of an Airspace study, Demand vs. Capacity Analysis, Airport Capacity Analysis, Costs estimates and Financial Analysis. Included in this study were Development Alternatives and Airport Development Plans.

  1. Who were the consultants?

Madam Speaker, the consultant was Louis Berger Group Inc. (Washington DC)

c)       What were the recommendations of the consultants, and what dates were they given? 

Madam Speaker, the consultants completed the master plan and as a result came up with some five (5) options for development. Subsequently, the Board of Directors established a committee to review the varied options and come up with a recommendation. The team reviewed the options and recommended another option dubbed “Option 6”.  Option 6 was reviewed by the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) who in turn concluded that “Option 6” was the preferred option.

d)      How much money was paid to the consultant to date? 

Madam Speaker, Louis Berger was paid $603,000 for the plan.

Question 3

Madam Speaker, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House:

a)       How long has it been since the British Virgin Islands Airport Authority undertook to explore the possibility of extending the Runway at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport? 

Madam Speaker, the BVI Airports Authority started looking into the airport extension in 2009.  As for the current procurement process, that was launched in July 2012 with the publication of a Request for Expressions of Interest. A Request for Proposals for design and build bids for an intermodal transportation centre, including the expansion of the Airport runway, followed in August 2012.

b)      Whether that process was continuous, or interrupted across Administrations?

Madam Speaker, the process was continuous over the various administrations.

Question 4

Madam Speaker, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House:

  1. When did his Government establish a staffed office charged with the responsibility of further executing the recommended concept for extending the Runway at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport?

Madam Speaker, a staffed office charged with the responsibility of further executing the recommended concept for extending the Runway at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport was established in July 2012.

  1. Is that office still in existence, if yes what are they currently doing, and if no, when was it closed and why?

Madam Speaker, the project office, which is no longer in existence, was closed at the end of the Project Manager’s contract, September 30, 2014.

  1. How much has that office cost the Government to date?

Madam Speaker, there was no cost incurred by the Government as it pertains to the establishment of a physical office as the Project Manager and Project Resource Coordinator both occupied space at the BVI Airports Authority.  However, the Project Manager and Project Resource Coordinator were contracted for a total sum of $474,000.00 during the period 2012 - 2014.

Question 5

Madam Speaker, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House:

  1. What are the latest proposals received in response to RFP’s for extending the Runway at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport?

Madame Speaker, bids were received from the China Communications Construction Company and the IDL/McAlpine consortium on 6 May 2016 in response to Addendum 17 to the Request for Proposals, which invited bids on a design and build basis. 

b)     Whether his Government has to date selected any of the Proposals received?

Madam Speaker, the Government announced on 27 December, 2016 that the China Communications Construction Company had been selected as preferred bidder for the proposed project to expand the runway at the T B Lettsome International Airport.

Question 6

Madam Speaker, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House, what is it that Government hopes to achieve through extending the Runway at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport?

Madam Speaker, an important objective for any Government is to support the development of the economy for the benefit of all citizens. It is widely recognized that improved air access is one route to supporting the economic development of the Territory. Extension of the runway to about 7,100 feet would allow current airline fleets (737-800 and Airbus 320) to fly directly to and from continental US and Latin America.  At present, established US airlines all cite the inability of their existing fleets to operate from the BVI due to runway length.

Question 7

Madam Speaker, could the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour please tell this Honourable House, what is the status of the Runway at the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport Project?

Madam Speaker, a preferred bidder for the Airport Project was selected at the end of 2016. Some discussions have taken place, including with potential financiers and with regulatory authorities. The Government is now considering next steps.