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Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, has started aggressively fostering relationships with partners in the private sector to support the rebuilding of the Virgin Islands following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
Last week the Premier met with and accepted an offer from the international architectural firm, OBM International (OBMI) who has presented its design services for the reconstruction of both the West End Ferry Terminal and a warehouse at the Port Purcell cargo facility. Both structures were severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Irma and now require complete rebuilding. In accepting the offer, Premier Smith said, “I believe that this demonstrates OBMI’s commitment to being part of the Virgin Islands and helping us to rebuild.”
OBMI is a global planning, architecture and design firm with offices across the Caribbean and United States. OBMI BVI was established in 1967 and has been an integral part of the development of the Territory’s infrastructure and also its internationally recognised private residences and tourism properties.
Marvin Flax Jr, the firm’s BVI Managing Director said the company was keen to assist the BVI and be part of the Territory’s rebuilding efforts. He said, “This year marks 50 years since we’ve been doing business in the BVI and over the years OBMI has become woven into the fabric of the community. As a company, we would like to actively participate in the rebuilding of our Territory. We are proud to donate our time and resources of staff across offices to work on these key projects that will be instrumental in moving our community forward.”
Flax remarked that offering the firm’s service is an opportunity for the company to help shape the design to have both beautiful and functional public spaces. “Many persons look at our islands now and might just see destruction, but at OBMI we see a unique opportunity to help rebuild the Virgin Islands with resiliency in mind, and we want to be as supportive as we can in the Territory’s reconstruction.”
Tim Peck, OBMI Chairman and long-term resident of the BVI added that the company’s services will have the full attention of OBMI’s regional and international architects, led by the company’s design team in the Territory. “These projects will give the BVI the opportunity to benefit from a cross-section of international architects, with their experience and knowledge of various ports, but also with very local understanding guiding the process. We are all excited about these projects, and we look forward to delivering designs that the community will be excited about and functional for their users.”
Alfred Henley, Acting Managing Director of BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) said the agency eagerly welcomes the support. He said, “We are very excited about OBMI’s design for both facilities, and this really is an opportune time for us at BVIPA to continue the modernisation of our facilities. We cannot thank the company enough, and I am looking forward to their designs.”
Since the passage of Hurricane Irma, Premier Smith has been in conversation with several private individuals and companies that have pledged their support to help rebuild the Territory. The response from the private sector has been positive, and Premier Smith says he will be continuing conversations with companies across industries to see how they can best give back and support the Territory during this time.