ONE-ON-ONE PRESS BRIEFING STATEMENT
BY MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS
THE HONORABLE MARK VANTERPOOL
ON THE VIRGIN ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE
DECEMBER 6, 2018
Good afternoon, thank you for being here.
I called for this one on one, because of the news story that came out about the Fire Station today. We are pleased when information is out there, but we want to make sure that the information is balanced on both sides.
The report said fairly that they were trying to get to the Permanent Secretary for comments, but were unable to, so I am here so that the comments can come from the Minister instead.
Based on the news article we are sorry that it is taking this long to get the fire station restored, repaired and fully functional after the hurricanes Irma and Maria of last year.
We wished that we could have gotten to it much sooner, but it took some time to get things in the right order to be able to get the Fire Station restored. This is because we want to bring it back much stronger and better.
Eleven contractors were invited to bid, five returned bids and one was selected after evaluation. At the Central Tender Board’s recommendation, the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands selected Quality Construction Limited on November 28.
The contract was in the amount of $795,541.61 and is expected to be signed on Friday December 7.
Contractor Mr. Roy Garraway has advised that he will mobilize to begin the rehabilitation of the Fire Headquarters on Saturday December 8.
It is regrettable that it has taken this long, from last year November, when the Public Works Department did their assessment; they started doing drawings, and then put forward their proposals to the ministry. At the end of August the final proposal was submitted.
The Ministry then went out and invited eleven contractors.
In my hands are the drawings that Public Works produced.
The attorney general had been finalizing the contract and now we expect to get it today for signing tomorrow, we have asked the contractor to get on with the work as quickly as possible.
We have taken into consideration what the Chief and his fire officers have gone through, they have been very patient. They had a lot of difficulties. We empathize with them with what they have gone through and wish that they hadn’t.
We really apologize to the Firemen for what they have gone through, and want to show them that we will be moving very quickly. The contract is to be completed within five to six months, and hopefully, the team at Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services will have a better headquarters soon.
In spite of the challenges, they have done quite a bit of work, a lot of work in the midst of those challenges throughout the territory.
We really apologize for the working conditions that Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services endured over the past months and looking forward to them producing as well, as they always do.
In addition, the restoration process for the works at the Police Headquarters building, located at the Sir Oliver George’s Plaza has begun.
Deputy Governor’s office has been overseeing that project along with the Ministry of Communications and Works. The Ministry through Public Works will be overseeing the project.
About a month or two ago a contract was approved by cabinet. The process was done by the Central Tender Board, who evaluated five contractor bids and then put forward Autland Heavy Equipment Company Ltd. to do the rebuilding the Police Headquarters.
The signing of the contract is schedule for Friday, December 7.
Upon signage Autland is expected to mobilize and start work next week on the Headquarters for the Police.
All of these projects we would have liked if they could have started much sooner, however the process for which the approval is given is a bit longer than we would like.
However we have come to the position now, where we are going to rehabilitate these two important buildings in the city of Road Town, to be able to deliver the service of the Government better.