REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE DR. THE HONOURABLE ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE ‘AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMUNITY’ AT JOES HILL MANOR
ON THURSDAY, 20TH APRIL, 2017
AT 10:00 A.M.
"...this is a ‘game changer’ moment where the BVI will soon have its very first ‘Affordable Housing Community’..."
Thank you Madame Chair and good morning to everyone.
I am elated to have been invited to speak at this momentous occasion, which is indeed a ‘red letter day’ in the history of the Virgin Islands.
In fact, this is a ‘game changer’ moment where the BVI will soon have its very first ‘Affordable Housing Community’.
This is good news for the people of the Virgin Islands.
When my Government came into office in 2011, we did not hesitate to start discussions that would give our people an opportunity to increase home ownership and individual wealth.
In fact, during the campaign, we often spoke about our mission to provide our people with safe and affordable accommodations because we know that all individuals yearn for a place and property that they can call their own.
I was more than pleased when the Social Security Board took that vision and made it their own so that our people could be empowered in this way.
So, here we are six years later, moving and progressing forward.
It was just January that the agreement was signed with James Todman Construction (JTC) and Larry Adams Construction Companies (LAC) to jointly design and build 43 residential units here at Joe’s Hill on over 7 acres of land for a projected $11 million.
Today’s groundbreaking, therefore, not only signals that the BVI economy is sound, but more importantly, that the people of the BVI come first.
My Government listened when the people of the BVI raised concerns about the rising cost of land, and high costs for rental units, which are a burden to consider when desiring to own your own home.
Never before has there been such a venture, to provide affordable homes for members of the community who may not have the financial means to purchase land or build homes at this time in their lives.
These homes will be made available for sale to first time home owners.
As a homeowner myself, I can honestly say that there are few greater achievements than building or purchasing your own home.
This gives a sense of fulfilment that can only add to the homeowner’s self-esteem, individual wealth building, and it can be the catalyst to propel that person forward in other areas of their life.
Increased home ownership is indicative of a prosperous Virgin Islands, where residents enjoy a high quality of life and personal fulfilment. This is paramount to the viability of this economy, and to the shared, sustainable growth of this Territory.
My Government stands in full support of the Social Security Board’s initiative, which is in line with Government’s mandates; including building a better Virgin Islands and improving the standard of living in the Territory.
I am pleased that the Social Security Board chose to invest into the local economy with the affordable housing programme.
I know that over 100 persons have expressed an interest in purchasing a home, which is an excellent indication of the programme’s success.
Aside from the benefits of having more homeowners in the BVI, the project itself will stimulate the economy with the creation of jobs.
I would like to take this time to acknowledge the Chairman of the Board Mr. Ian Smith, the board’s director, Ms. Antoinette Skelton, and her team for beginning what will be a new era of home ownership in the Virgin Islands.
With all these things, I have no doubt that we are indeed building a better Virgin Islands. And we are doing this together.