REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER FOR TOURISM
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
OPENING OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II PARK AND RENOVATED CHILDREN’S PARK
May 31, 2016
‘LET’S GET READY TO MOVE IT!’
Your Excellency Governor John S. Duncan, OBE, Minister for Communications and Works and Representative for the Fourth District, Honourable Mark Vanterpool, Members of the House of Assembly, Permanent Secretaries, senior public officers, contractors, specially invited guests, media partners, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls this afternoon, we are moving!
I am pleased that you are able to come out and move with me, as we prepare to open Queen Elizabeth II Park and the renovated children’s playground.
We first commenced work on this project during my last administration where we enclosed the perimeter of the park and improved the land reclamation.
Today, we have completely transformed the property into a fully functional green space and recreational park for all to enjoy. This has long been a vision of mine.
As a doctor, I would always tell my patients to find ways to be active in a relaxed environment, and this is what our park represents.
I recall viewing the work on the project from my balcony, and I imagined how our community would use the park to stay active or simply relax. I imagined a park that was the perfect venue for families to hold their picnics and other special get-togethers.
I envisioned that the QEII Park will feature prominently in our Tourism product and will be a destination for disembarking tourists.
As a tourism attraction, this park is a vital tourism link for visitors that simply wish to explore and enjoy Road Town. This will result in further economic stimulus with spending in businesses, and services in the Road Town area.
Additionally, the QEII Park is a part of my Government’s vision for revitalising Road Town and ensuring that activities in the City reflect its economic and historic importance.
The QEII Park is also part of our wider vision to improve the quality of life for all residents in this Territory, and helping to make Road Town pedestrian and environmentally friendly.
So it is not just another beautiful place, and its value as a functional green space within our community is immeasurable. I anticipate that it will serve our community with many benefits including health benefits - both mental and physical; as well as social and even economic benefits.
In the same manner as the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park, our QEII Park is an ideal space for recreational and sporting activity, relaxation, social cohesion and stress reduction. All of which are necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
We take the health of our people seriously, and we are concerned about the health of our population and the number of persons that are affected by chronic diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, cancer and respiratory illnesses.
These diseases affect our families, our communities and by extension, our entire population.
That is why my Government is putting much needed preventative programmes in place to support healthy lifestyles. That is why we are here today with this new recreational park, which is another value-added dimension in achieving this goal.
We believe that wellness is an important part in combatting these conditions, so we can all enjoy a better quality of life.
My colleague Honourable Ronnie Skelton and his team at the Health Ministry have been pushing us to be more health conscious and focused on preventative care.
We are being encouraged to do more family activities, and to become more active. I believe this park will help to create that type of community atmosphere.
With the opening of our renovated children’s playground, we are encouraging our little ones to move at an early age, and keep moving. By doing this, we are taking bold steps to reduce the instances of childhood obesity in future generations.
Not only can we teach our children to keep moving with a simple game of “tag”, “hide-and-go-seek”, or “red-light-green-light-123”, but we are also teaching them important social skills, and how to connect with others beyond the electronic screen of a smart-phone or an ipad.
I want to thank all those persons who have been working behind the scenes to help this park come to fruition — my team at the Premier’s Office and members of the steering committee. Let me also say thank you to the members of the National Parks Trust in advance, as they will be the ones caring for it.
I also thank the architect OBM for the designs, the Public Works Department, Systems Engineering, the project support services unit of the Ministry of Finance, all of our local contractors, and all of those who had an important role to play.
I am very pleased that the QEII Park was brought to life using our local contractors and vendors at every stage, thus stimulating the economy and demonstrating the extraordinary skills of our small and medium businesses as the project progressed.
We are ushered into the park at the entrance, with unique pavers created by Mr. Elliot Hodge and arranged by Lancelot Alphonso.
We also have our one-of-a-kind concrete benches from Green-Crete in Virgin Gorda; and signature lampshades from Bamboushay by our public restroom facilities. In going green we are also reducing our electricity costs by utilising solar powered lights throughout the park.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Queen Elizabeth II Park is our park and it will be with us for generations to come. So let us take pride in it, and do our part to keep it clean and litter free.
Let us use this park to reconnect with friends and relax, as well as strengthen our family ties and, of course, get active.
Let’s get ready to move it!