Remarks by Honourable Kye Rymer
Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities
Ground Breaking Ceremony – Market Square Rebuilding
October, 12th 2020
A pleasant Good Day to everyone joining us via the Live Stream.
I want to welcome and thank you for joining with us on this very proud moment as we break ground for this long-anticipated development project in our Territory’s Capital; commencing construction of the Road Town Market Square.
I think by now, it is well known that the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities has embarked on an initiative to transform the Capital. Our aim is to pedestrianize, beautify, and enhance the overall experience of being in the city with a series of projects. Simultaneously, we are steadfast in lifting the experience for everyone in our city with these improvements.
This transformation is something we have been working on for quite some time now, and there are many milestones that we have crossed – many projects we have executed – and as we go about our busy schedules – we may not take notice.
Allow me to recap some of these achievements throughout the city:
• We have implemented the traffic turnaround which was geared at modifying the way we traverse the road network in order to improve traffic flows. This alteration took effect in June of this year.
While we are here at the Roundabout I would like to emphasize that the rules of the roundabout still apply; yield to vehicles on your right. If you are in the right lane coming up towards the roundabout from Waterfront Drive, if you stay on the inward lane you can exit to the Walter James Francis Highway, or you can exit onto DeCastro Street, another option is to come back around and exit on the outer lane on to Flemming Street.
Commuters in the left lane from Waterfront Drive would enter the roundabout on the outer lane and exit towards the Walter James Francis Highway, or you can enter the roundabout and exit on to Flemming Street.
• We have continued a landscaping project which included the installation of the recently-planted palm trees on Administration Drive and Waterfront Drive.
• We have completed an additional westbound lane along Waterfront Drive.
• We have signed a contract to improve portions of the sidewalk along Waterfront Drive, and Romasco Place.
• Westbound motorist can now comfortably traverse onto Pasea Road as we have installed a holding lane at the traffic light at Pasea Estate.
• We have had a soft implementation of the Park and Ride City Shuttle Service in conjunction with the transportation stimulus program. This service will be further cemented with the arrival of six (6) electric shuttles that will be owned and operated by the Government of the Virgin Islands, in conjunction with the Wickham’s Cay Development Authority.
The Road Town Improvement Project is already making considerable headway and I anticipate the true benefits, will be seen in the year ahead.
The Road Town Market Square project is another project in a series of transformation projects. It is a momentous milestone on our journey to achieving the overarching goal of improving our Capital.
We have assembled today, at this historical site, which was established in the 1970s and was the fourth (4th) official Market Day venue in the Territory. I can recall being a young man and having many early Saturday mornings visiting the market with my grand-mother. We would commute to Road Town with a vehicle packed with local produce and we sold amongst the other local vendors here at the market square. Persons could find on sale a variety of locally grown produce and fish captured by our local farmers and fishermen.
During my teenage years, I can also recall attending several events being held at the market square here. Some of you may also remember that this was the site, where many local bands performed as this site was the start-and-stop point for tramps through Road Town.
Over the years, the purpose and functionality of the space evolved into a local and daily vendor location where you can find a variety of locally grown and imported produce, jewelry, fast foods and other novelty items.
However, it is now time to add to the history books of the Road Town Market Square and transform it into an emblem of a modern, economic, and social space for both residents and visitors to enjoy.
Upon completion of this facility, patrons will be able to enjoy a sixteen (16) kiosk shopping splendour, accompanied by a Gazebo, green spaces, restrooms, bus depot, and local monumental artifacts. Soon, this place will be vibrant with the sounds of music, celebrations and community gatherings, fresh produce, and a variety of food and retail items.
Change is inevitable; we have to keep changing, adapting and adjusting to be relevant to the times and to stay ahead of the times.
Transformation is healthy. This is good for the Territory and our people, when we are constantly looking for ways to improve our capabilities, our competencies, our offerings and how we package and present our offerings.
It introduces a bit of freshness to things and keeps things exciting.
Our Capital is the heart of our Territory and this is a place that has to be sending out strong, positive vibes – vibes that will be infectious, vibes that will lift the energy levels in all our villages and communities.
Our city should reflect a thriving economy. It must reflect who we are; a proud and progressive people. It must complement our status as one of the most beautiful places on the planet and a top tourist destination. It must create the atmosphere that drives success.
So, this development is a significant step in stimulating next-level economic growth and social activity.
It is my hope that we will achieve support from you, the Virgin Islands' residents, as we move forward with the transformation of Road Town.
Ultimately, this is your project, created and designed for you. The primary users of the new and improved Road Town Market Square will be, you, the residents of the Virgin Islands, while we also welcome visitors to feel and experience a taste of our islands with this facility.
Your Government continually focuses on providing reliable and affordable services and facilities to our residents and visitors alike. We are responsible for providing infrastructure that will serve many generations to come, and creating the operating environment that will stimulate jobs that are vital to our community's economic health.
As your Government, we are dedicated to delivering innovative and sustainable development and infrastructure solutions, to support our continued work in building a strong and vibrant economy.
When this Market Square rebuilding project is completed, we will be one giant step closer to achieving our city beautification goals, along with enhancing economic development potential. I am looking forward to seeing our community thrive and flourish in the years to come.
Getting to this point has been a real team effort and it is only appropriate that we recognize the many individuals and groups contributing to this project, as the Ministry could not have executed this initiative in isolation.
I want to take this time to acknowledge:
- The expert team of planners at the Town and Country Planning Department for providing us with the design concept, presented at a community meeting in 2019. The drawings were developed as part of the Road Town beautification project.
- I must thank 3DE Limited for providing Architectural Services to transform the ideas into workable drawings.
- The Public Works Department for their technical infrastructure expertise and consistent labour support.
- The City Manager’s Office
- And, of course, special thanks must go out to my dynamic team at the Ministry of Transportation Works and Utilities for being the coordinating body to get us this far.
I would like to acknowledge the Honourable Mark Vanterpool, as it was under his administration that the plans for the Market Square were developed, but we are here now to deliver those plans, for the people of the Territory.
I also must acknowledge during these perilous times, the Minister of Finance, Premier Fahie, and the Ministry of Finance, for providing and making the monies available for the start of this project into completion.
It would be remiss of me not to extend my gratitude to the vendors who are at the core of this project. We have vendors who have utilized this venue for over a decade, so I must thank them for their patience and cooperation as we have had to temporarily relocate all of them to a nearby site, not too far from us now, next to the Road Town Fire Station.
Our vendors are among our key stakeholders in this project. We have a shared appreciation of the vision that when they step foot back into this location, it will be a more attractive and energetic space. Everything we do, as your Government, is aimed at lifting and enriching the quality of your lives, but the only path to success is the one where we are working together.
Friends, it is with immense pride, excitement and happiness, that I stand here today ready to break ground and start construction on this iconic project. It is aimed at improving the experience in the city and bringing hope to our people through economic activities.
May the hard work and the good work, that we do propel our Virgin Islands and its people into a new and prosperous future.
I thank you