Territory is Strong and the
Economy is Growing, C.M. says
economy is growing, our people are leading the way to progress and the state of
the Territory is strong”, Chief Minister of the BVI, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando
Smith told the big crowd of BVI people who turned up to hear his annual State of
the Territory address.
state of the territory address came with much anticipation as every BVI resident
was anxious to learn the accomplishments made by the present administration
since they took office. The BVI community was also curious to find out how many
of the proposed projects on Government’s agenda have been completed. BVI
residents were not disappointed because the Chief Minister gave updates on
progress being made in the Tourism Industry, the Financial Sector, the Education
and Health arenas.
the Chief Minister over this past year, the BVI has experienced a surge in
visitors to our shores, including an impressive 10 percent increase in the
number of valuable overnight visitors, with an average occupancy rates in our
hotels well above 65 percent. "We are on the verge of closing a number of
development projects including a five star resort, as well as a golf course", he
pointed out that over the past year the Tourism Industry Service Standard
program was initiated to ensure that the service provided to visitors matches
the beauty of the BVI. He also disclosed that there have been expansions on the
efforts to market the BVI Tourism product throughout the world.
also spoke of the Prospect Reef Resort which has been purchased by Government.
The Chief Minister reiterated his belief that the resort will be transformed in
a training center, will provide young people the opportunity to learn the craft
of hotel management and hospitality in a real world environment, and will be a
cited some difficulties that his administration has faced since they took
office. Difficulties such as the changing of international laws that have
threatened the BVI’s Financial Services Industry; the increase of competition to
our Tourism sector from destinations around the world, and the challenge of
putting the Territory’s fiscal house in order by introducing policies and
programs to deliver improvement for the people of the Territory and to grow the
economy and to secure our future.
Leader reported that “the progress the BVI is making can be seen on the ground
----from the new road system in Virgin Gorda to the completion of the hospital
expansion project in Tortola, the critical new dock on Anegada, to the youth
development program in Jost Van Dyke. He also highlighted the important Bills
that have been passed in the Legislative Council, such as the BVI Business
Companies Act , The Education Act, the new Immigration Policy, and the
completion of the Constitutional Review. Other achievements can be seen in Road
Town where new buildings are being built and new businesses are being opened.
AIMING AT TRUE SUCCESS
Smith said that at the end of the day that is not what progress is really all
about. He said that Government does not and will not measure its success based
on the number of buildings that are constructed, or the number of bills passed,
or the amount of dollars invested, “For us there is only one true measure of
success, and that is the well being and happiness of the people of the BVI”.
Minister said that Government will not be able to deem itself successful until
the people of the Territory feel that their lives are improving, and the
conditions for individuals to thrive and realize their own potential are
achieved. The BVI Leader said that there are still many challenges to be
overcome, and many problems to be solved. Dr. Smith understands that too often
people are not hearing what Government is doing, and the Government must do a
better job at communicating its activities to the public. In fact the
Government is in the process of restructuring its entire communications service
to ensure that when work is being done the people are informed about it.
such as the improving and expanding of educational facilities have been
undertaken over the past year. He announced that the national curriculum project
is moving forward, and that Government has been providing new training
opportunities for teachers.
“In the area
of Water and Sewerage we are making progress, as well. The East End sewerage
project is continuing . 10.3 million dollars have been approved for treatment
plants in Road Town and the East End/ Long Look sites have been chosen.
Construction of the collection system is well underway. The Road Town phase of
the project will be commencing shortly”, Hon. Smith announced.
issue of telecommunications was also addressed. Chief Minister Smith told BVI
people that Government is moving forward with its liberalization program. In
fact, Government has appointed an expert in the field who is in charge of
establishing a new telecom policy that will deliver better service at lower
Leader gave a detailed update on a number of achievements made during
the last year by the Health Sector. The plan to build helipads on the sister
islands was given high priority. Second, was the implementation of the BVI
Health Services Authority.
the achievements of the Government over the past year, Hon. Smith said that he
was not satisfied with the state of security in the Territory today. “This
Government will not rest, will not relax and will not be satisfied until this
problem is mastered. As a start we will be bringing forward new legislation to
stiffen penalties for any person convicted of illegal possession of a gun or use
of a gun in the commission of a crime. Quite simply, our tolerance for guns is
zero. If you commit a gun crime in the BVI you are going to Balsam Ghut and you
are staying there for a very long time. "
concluding his address Mr. Smith asked the people of the BVI if they found that
the Territory was now stronger, if his Government lifted up our people and
created hope and opportunity and if it inspired our youths to achieve all they
are capable of.
"Let us all
seek together to make the torch of our beloved BVI burn more brightly than ever
- so that when we look back at the work we have done we can say with
satisfaction and pride: we left our Territory in better stance for the next
generation--and we have confidence that they will leave it better still."
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