Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith said that he is not ruling out the possibility that the Sir Olva Georges Plaza may become a farmers market. However, the BVI Leader explained that it is too early to give a definitive answer as the call by farmers is still being mulled and considered.
The question of making the market permanent came after 17 March when the first Farmers Market at the Plaza was held. That event was a success and led to a repeat event which generated the request for the market to remain as vendors feel that they operate better at this central location because they do more sales there.
It was in this vein that the question of allowing vending to continue was put to Premier Smith, who said: “We understand, we acknowledge and we know that agriculture and fishing are very important sectors of the community that we must pay more attention to in the future and we are going to be doing so whether that results in having a market place at the Sir Olva Georges plaza is something that we have to decide and as a government we have to take a look and decide what is the best use of the buildings and the space at the Sir Olva Georges Plaza .”
The decision to permit the Sir Olva Georges Plaza to become a regular marketplace is a bit touchy considering that government invested back in March 2015 to have the Road Town Market Square revitalized and re-launched. At the time of the re-launch it was explained that the space was created to provide a safe area for local vendors to sell fruits, vegetables and other local products in a suitable and convenient area for both vendors and buyers.
Additionally, the Office of the City Manager had also announced plans for the Sir Olva Georges Plaza. In fact, back in 2014 City Manager Janice Brathwaite-Edwards announced that plans are in the pipeline for the redesign and improvement of the Sir Olva Georges Plaza.
Speaking on a television program that was aired on 19 August, 2014 Mrs. Brathwaite-Edwards disclosed that the idea was to allow the public to determine the format of the design via a competition. She said: “We are actually getting ready to put out a competition to redesign the Sir Olva Georges Plaza. We want to see what architects, landscape engineers etc come up with as we redesign Sir Olva Georges Plaza,” she said.
Mrs. Brathwaite-Edwards explained that the vision is to ensure that the Plaza becomes an area that has the ‘wow’ factor and is seen as the welcome into the capital. “We are trying to encompass the whole ferry dock situation the whole boardwalk promenade situation as you come into there. At the end of the day when you decide to come and wait for your ferry because they say now, I am understanding that you have to be there for at least an hour that that is something that …if I have to be at the ferry for at least an hour I can come down and relax in a green space,” she said.
The City Manager also explained that the redesigned Plaza will help to bring back foot traffic to Main Street and contribute to the excitement of Road Town: “I am excited because I can see like the grand entrance to the city of Road Town,” she announced. But that was four years ago when the witches (Irma & Maria) had not caused misery, grief and death yet.