PREMIER SMITH: ROAD REHABILITATION WILL LEAD TO ECONOMIC GROWTH
Monday July 30, 2012
The Territory is one step closer to upgrading the roads and drainage system, now that the Government of the Virgin Islands has launched the Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE sees this project as an opportunity for economic growth and development.
The project, a loan agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), sets out the works to be completed in the areas affected during the passage of Tropical Storm Otto in October 2010.
At the launch this morning, Honourable Smith explained how the project can facilitate enhance economic growth and development by linking it to future savings for taxpayers.
“We expect that these higher [building] standards [resulting from the Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project] should create a safer BVI and a more robust infrastructure, ultimately resulting in medium and long term savings to the taxpayer,” Premier Smith said.
He also noted his expectation for the development of better building practices and strong regulations, along with the growth and innovation of the Territory’s construction sector.
“It is important to this Government that our people are able to participate meaningfully in relatively complex projects and as in this case to design and build structures in the Virgin Islands that can resist natural and manmade challenges… [The project] will equip our people to compete with their counterparts beyond our shores in complex and sizeable infrastructural projects,” he said.
Premier Smith further stated, “I am also hoping that as a source of relief to many of our tradesmen and apprentices who have been struggling for want of work in recent times that the opportunities and training provided by the CDB will be used as a catalyst for innovation in the construction sector….”
Premier Smith thanked the CDB for financing the project and Government agencies for their contribution. He also thanked the previous Government for its work to obtain CDB assistance.
In his remarks, Minister for Communication and Work Honourable Mark Vanterpool highlighted Government’s legislative agenda for improved infrastructure to improve the standard of living for all. He outlined the particulars of the project and highlighted the areas for immediate action.
Chief Economist of the Caribbean Development Bank Mr. Carl Howell spoke of the CDB-BVI relationship and the Bank’s previous assistance to the Territory. He added the BVI is one of the least indebted to the Bank.
According to Mr. Howell, people, partnerships and policies all contribute to the formula that results in the Virgin Islands’ economic success.
After this morning’s launch, CDB representatives and officers from key Government agencies participated in a Procurement Workshop, to further explain expectations and procedures of the works to be completed. The workshop will end tomorrow.
The launch of the Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project supports the Government of the Virgin Islands’ approach to stimulating economic growth and development through improved infrastructure. In addition, the project is in line with Government’s plans to enhance the Territory’s tourism product.