Premier's Office
Release Date:
Thursday, 9 July 2020 - 5:38pm

As a Territory, we continue to move forward with recovery of our public infrastructure. I am very pleased to be here to move another project forward as per the schedule of projects in the revised Recovery and Development Plan. It is good that we continue to reawaken our economy. We continue to move from the “talking” phase into the “action” phase. This is important because restoring hope and prosperity for all means actively moving the pendulum forward towards a resilient Virgin Islands for present and future generations. I thank the team at the Recovery Development Agency for progressing with timelines, and delivering on the recovery priorities in close partnership with each Ministry, Department, and Statutory Body based on Government’s vision and overall plan. Since May 2020, following the 14-day 24-hour curfew, the RDA, which is a project implementation agency under the Premier’s Office has been putting out different tenders and signing contracts with qualifying local contractors to rehabilitate and reconstruct public buildings. The tenders also include the commencement of reservoir and meter system works to get water to those places that have been plagued with water issues for years. As a Government, we are pleased that we were able to renegotiate some of the terms in the Caribbean Development Bank’s Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Loan when we took office in 2019. This was important to make sure the people have a stake in the development of this economy. In light of this COVID-19 era, this is now more important than ever. Of course, this will call for further renegotiation with CDB to ensure that during this COVID-19 era, the funds from the loans for the different projects are allowed to be circulated in a more meaningful way in the local economy through the local contractors that qualify, through the ongoing transparent process. The initial renegotiation was important because it could not be just or fair for this money to pass through the BVI’s economy, and the BVI businesses and workers are pushed to the side and disadvantaged from being able to access the benefits of this cashflow. So now the further renegotiation is even more important to exponentially accomplish the same admist COVID-19. By successfully renegotiating the terms with the CDB, our BVI workers and businesses can get a vitamin boost from this money. This could not have been timelier! In this COVID-19 era of the New Regular, we are ploughing through and giving our people the opportunity to make an income to care for their families, and for businesses to get some activity. Today, I want to congratulate Autland Construction for successfully winning the bid to move forward with phase one of the Great Mountain Project to rehabilitate the road and to stabilise the slope in the area. As a Government, we believe in the skills of our people. And I want to say this, there would be times when international companies as tenderers would win bids, and even in those cases, your Government will push to ensure the transfer of technical skills to the people of the Virgin Islands because we are the ones who must ensure our continuity, as a Territory advancing forward. I believe we must give our people the chance and the opportunity to develop and to grow. We have to create the climate and the opportunity that gives them the chance to meet us in the middle. And that is why under our watch, this Government will always fight the good fight to make sure the people of the Virgin Islands are not pushed aside. Our people can do the work. Our people can build this economy. Our fore-parents did it before, and we can do it again. I thank the Cabinet, Members of my Government, Members of the House of Assembly, Ministry of Finance and all the public officers who played a role in advancing this process to make sure this gets done. The public has put this Government in place to make decisions that are in their best interest. There are a lot of tough decisions to make and this Government is not afraid to make them because taking care of the people is not about popularity. It is about the long-term prosperity of these islands and fulfilling purpose. That is why it will be remise of me no to recongise the Ministry of Finance again, in terms of the Financial Secretary and Dr. Drexel Glasgow, who have done a lot of work since we have taken office especially with myself to make this CDB loan monies hit the ground and become a reality and for that I am so thankful; and the people of the Virgin Islands, on behalf of them I say thank you. I know that the RDA has a lot more contracts to sign. I see the tenders are out and I am asking our people to avail themselves. I’m extremely glad to also see that the tenders are out for one phase of the West End Terminal and I know within a few months that will come to fruition and I will buy a special suit for that day. Additionally, when there are training programmes by RDA and CDB, I am asking our people to take advantage of these free opportunities that would yield financial benefits in the long term. Today this contract signing signals yet another victory for the BVI as we steadily move forward with our hurricane recovery efforts with $40M worth of construction projects under the RDA. Yes, we are now living and working in this New Regular of COVID-19, but we will continue to push forward. Yes, we know that issues have been lingering since 2017. We will continue to move forward, even if it means taking things and projectsnoff the shelf, realigning them in the best interest of the people and this Virgin Islands. This Atlantic Hurricane season is expected to be an active one, but we will continue to be ready and stay ready. We are all in this together in BVILOVE. I wish the contractor success in completing this project on time and within budget so that we can move on to the other phases that are planned. In ending, I say may God bless these projects and may He continue to watch over the people of the Virgin Islands, and remember as you go out practice safe distancing, wear your masks and let us all keep each other healthy and safe. It is the only way to keep our economy going in this COVID-19 era. I thank you.