I am pleased to welcome you here today, as we sign a Loan Agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the BVI Social Security Board, for $16 million, to facilitate the development of the road network infrastructure throughout the Territory.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a major development on many fronts.
As a Government, we recognize and appreciate the efforts of the BVI Social Security Board, to fulfill its internal mandate, as part of its long term investment strategy, to contribute to the building up of our local infrastructure.
This Government has long recognized the need to constantly maintain and upgrade our road network throughout the Territory, which suffer from wear and tear and erosion over the many years.
We remain fully committed to ensuring the safety of the motoring and pedestrian public and improving the quality of the roads, by resurfacing, improving the drainage systems and installing curbs and guard rails, where necessary.
The Ministry of Communications and Works, through the Public Works Department, has already started work on four (4) major projects on Tortola, even as other road resurfacing takes place, as necessary, on all of the islands.
The resurfacing of over half a mile of road from the Beef Island Bridge to Parham Town has been completed.
This phase of works also included the installation of proper drainage and sidewalks.
On the eastern end of the island, major road improvements will continue, following the installation of the gravity feed sewerage lines, from Parham Town junction to Long Swamp.
This will include a full road resurfacing, including sidewalks and drainage improvements.
The final phase of the East End road improvements will follow the force main sewerage line installation, from Long Swamp to Paraquita Bay, later this year.
We are also upgrading the water mains, from 6 inch to 8 inch lines.
In the meantime, another phase of road improvements from Rudy’s Bar in Meyers to the Soldier Hill junction, is about 70% complete.
This project includes drainage improvement, culvert crossings, retaining walls and complete asphalt resurfacing of this road.
Work on the section of road from the Belle Vue Junction to Spring Ghut has already started, while work in the areas of Meyers to Chalwell, Chalwell to Windy Hill, Carrot Bay to West End and from Slaney to Sea Cow’s Bay by the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, is presently ongoing.
Today, we have a team from the Public Works Department over on Anegada, laying asphalt throughout The Settlement.
We are also preparing to undertake works on Virgin Gorda and will be on Jost Van Dyke later this year with some road works.
The road rehabilitation works are being undertaken in line with the expansion of our cruise facility, so that our residents and visitors are able to easily and more safely traverse the island.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how serious our Government is, about the infrastructural development of our Territory of the Virgin Islands.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but I drove through Road Town yesterday and was very pleased to see many new street signs that have been installed throughout the capital city.
The intention is to properly identify the names of these streets and later on, facilitate the National Addressing System which was started many years ago, to number our buildings and assist with our mailing system.
Ladies and gentlemen, as Minister for Communications and Works, directed by the Premier to carry out my portfolio, I am ecstatic at the number of important infrastructural projects underway and being completed.
I have also heard this sentiment being expressed by many persons throughout the islands, as well.
But I want you to know that the big day is coming, ladies and gentlemen, and no, I am not talking about Election Day.
I am talking about April 29th, 2015, the opening day of the marine side of the Cruise Pier Project, as well as some of the landside development.
I want to make sure that everyone under the sound of my voice, knows that you are invited to this grand celebration on April 29th, when Norwegian’s Cruise Line – Breakaway, will make its inaugural visit to the Territory, carrying an estimated 4,000 passengers and around 1,600 crew members.
Ladies and gentlemen, while some have done everything in their power to stop the cruise pier project, to stop our road improvement projects, to stop our sewerage project, to justify an albatross-around-our-neck water contract where we have to pay for water we don’t use; and while some did nothing to execute the Phase V Development Programme of the BVI Electricity Corporation; this Government did everything possible to develop our cruise pier facility, to maintain and improve our roads, to fix our sewerage problem and to ensure that we provide potable water to at least 95% of persons living in the Territory of the Virgin Islands.
I can attest that these are the things that this Government is doing and have done.
Ladies and gentlemen, the people of the Virgin Islands deserve these major improvements to our Territory, the economy of the Virgin Islands depends on it, and let it be said that this Minister and this Government, are proud that we have performed well in the interest of all of the people of the Virgin Islands, from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke.
Thank you very much and may God bless these beautiful Virgin Islands.