Statement By Honourable Kye Rymer
Minister of Transportation, Works and Utilities
Acceleration of Restoration Works at Central Administration Complex
Monday, October 7, 2019
Fellow Virgin Islanders and Residents,
A pleasant good day to each and every one of you.
It is my pleasure as the Minister responsible for Transportation, Works and Utilities, to provide this update on the progress made by your government on the journey towards restoring the Central Administration Complex following the extensive damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
The state of the administration complex over the past 25 months has been of high concern to your Government.
We expressed the view on the campaign trail that restoration of that facility must be an urgent national priority because it is a key hub for the timely execution of Government’s work and activities.
Equally important, it is the place of work for hundreds of our public officers. Public officers are the backbone of government delivery, and their comfort and safety are very important.
Let me take this opportunity to commend our public officers for the dedication to duty that they have shown by working under the very difficult and challenging conditions that they have endured over the last two years, driven by their commitment that service to our Territory and our people must go on. Your country owes you a debt of gratitude which can never be quantified nor repaid.
Your Government has been working as hard and as fast as we can to restore the infrastructure and services across the Territory that were disrupted by the 2017 natural disasters.
Accomplishing this has forced us to make difficult decisions in how we prioritise our tasks and our efforts to restore and rebuild our critical infrastructure.
Just to give one example; it was vitally urgent to get our children – the next generation of Virgin Islanders – off the streets and back into full-time classes and a safer environment, equipping them for the demands of the future. That is why your Government worked overtime over the past several months, liaising with the relevant stakeholders, to get our schools ready for the start of the school term two weeks ago. With our children back to being academically engaged, we can now increase our focus on other pressing issues, one of which is the Central Administration Complex.
Recovery and development are two words that are dominating conversations these days, and the Central Administration Complex is the bridge between the two.
Repairing the complex and making it once again fit for occupancy, and befitting of the status as the head office of your Government, is part of the recovery of this Territory.
But it is also the command centre for executing and coordinating the development and transformation of the BVI into a country that is rich in sustainable opportunities for its citizens, and where all residents can enjoy a high quality of life.
I am pleased to advise that as a result of a decision taken by Cabinet, Deputy Governor, Mr David Archer Jr and I, along with various stakeholders including the RDA met on Monday, September 9. The purpose of that meeting was for the Deputy Governor who chaired previously meetings to officially hand over the responsibilities for renovation of the Central Administration Complex to me.
This work will involve extensive interior and exterior improvements, as we strive towards having a facility that will be well-suited to the demands and needs of the transformed public service and a modern Virgin Islands community.
This facility, when completed, must be able to withstand the impacts of various hazards, incorporate smart technology and be a reflection of the pride of the people of the Virgin Islands.
As I speak, some preliminary activities have already begun.
On September 20, acceptance letters were issued from the Government to two contractors to repair the roof, and to demolish and replace the skylights respectively. Cleaning and removal of the remaining membrane on the roof will begin in a few days in preparation for the works to begin. Strict conditions have been included in the contracts to ensure that this phase of the project is completed in 90 days.
We are working on obtaining the necessary approvals from Cabinet to commence work on clearing the contaminated debris, furniture, other articles from the basement of the building and to sanitise the basement, while restoring any files that can be cleaned and salvaged.
Tender documents for the removal and replacement of the glazing, windows and doors will remain in the public domain for the next two months.
It is my hope, and that of your Government, that we will see a vivid interest from members of the local construction industry.
Our BVI contractors proved their worth in delivering several major projects recently such as the L. Adorothy Turnbull building at the Elmore Stoutt High School, refurbishment of the Clarence Thomas Building, reconstruction of the Enis Adams Primary School, repairs to the Police Barracks on Virgin Gorda, reconstruction of the West End Police Station, and works on the West End Ferry Terminal, just to name a few.
Considering that the new government entered office at the end of February and was immediately engaged in putting a 2019 budget in place by the end of April, it really is to the credit, to the determination, and will of the Government and the Cabinet that we have been able to accomplish so much in such a short time.
Some of these projects have seen healthy collaboration between local and foreign service providers. This has ensured that our local tradesmen gained knowledge from skills transfer, that our local businesses benefited from these opportunities, and that some of the monies spent on these projects remained in the BVI to strengthen the local economy.
So, in this regard, the Government and the people of the BVI are confident in the ability of our businesses and I hope that they will come forward and bid for these works.
To ensure the comfort and safety of our Public Officers, as well as to minimise interruption of the work at the administration complex, it was decided that all agencies would relocate to alternative accommodation in the interim. Cabinet will then give the requisite approvals and the relocation of staff would begin.
We look forward to all parties cooperating and working together to make this transition a smooth and seamless one, bearing in mind that the ultimate goal is to return, as quickly as possible, to proper, comfortable and safe accommodations at the restored Central Administration Complex.
I want to thank all the partners and stakeholders who have been working hard over the past several months to bring this project to its present stage, and for their commitment to ensuring a timely completion.
I again wish to thank our Public Officers for their patience, for their support and dedication over the last two years and going forward, as we seek to provide our people with the quality of infrastructure that they deserve.
Indeed, our public officers deserve a clean, safe and comfortable environment to work, and the same goes to the members of the public whom they serve.
Rest assured that every effort is being made to have this done in the soonest possible time.
The BVI recovery continues and I am happy to be a part of a Government who understands that the people of this Territory must recover and the public service too must recover.
I thank you and I wish you a wonderful day.