Thursday, April 24, 2014 –
Dredging and marine works will begin in the coming weeks, now that the Government of the Virgin Islands through the BVI Ports Authority has inked a $30.7 million contract with IDL Projects Inc. and Meridian Construction Company Limited to extend, strengthen and widen the existing cruise pier.
In his remarks during the signing on April 22, Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE said, “We are here to move forward and forge ahead with enhancing the tourism industry; growing the BVI Business environment; ensuring economic development with increased business opportunities; and in the long term ensure a sustainable tourism industry for the BVI.”
He added, “We have got to sell more than sun, sea and sand. We must prepare the BVI to keep pace with the development in the cruise industry. We cannot afford to be left behind.”
In speaking further about the importance of the moving forward with the project Premier Smith said, “We must stay ahead of the curve and build a modern facility to accommodate the expectations of the industry and its clientele.”
He said that as Minister of Finance, it gives him comfort that the project has been well scrutinised to ensure transparency and value for money for the people of this Territory.
He told the winning contractors, IDL Projects Inc. and Meridian Construction Company Limited that they must endeavour to deliver a quality project, and that the people of the BVI will benefit in all areas, from the work to be undertaken.”
In further expressing his expectations, Premier Smith said that the project will further stimulate the construction industry and inject more revenue into the hands of local businesses and people, whether through investment opportunities as they arise, job opportunities in the construction industry, or new business ventures within the cruise pier park.
He said, “I eagerly look forward to new and bigger ship gracing our shores; our streets, parks and beaches receiving expectant visitors; our taxi drivers queuing in droves for disembarking visitors; and our stores and businesses awash with patrons.”
Additional speakers at the ceremony included Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Mark Vanterpool, Chairman of the BVI Ports Authority Mr. Edward DeCastro, President of Meridian Construction Company Limited, Mr. Percy Rhoden and President of IDL Projects Inc., Mr. Dennis Schwab.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains steadfast in its promise to strengthen the tourism industry. The transformation of the current cruise pier into a modern and efficient port facility is therefore expected to significantly enhance the BVI cruise tourism product, and result in over 425,000 cruise-ship passengers upon the project’s completion in mid-2015.