During the launch of the rehabilitation and reconstruction loan from the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Premier And Minister of Finance Dr. The Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that the money will be used to ensure that the ports are fixed and interisland travel is a comfortable experience once again.
While speaking at the event on 10 April Hon. Smith told the gathering: “Our ports of entry were affected in many ways, and I know that our residents and visitors are eager to enter and exit with greater comfort. Again, with the assistance of the funding provided by the rehabilitation and reconstruction loan, the BVI can now work towards delivering to its travelers improved terminals and a better customer service experience.”
Since the passage of pernicious hurricanes Irma and Maria travel between the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands is being done through the Tortola Pier Park because both the Road Town and West End ferry terminals were damaged. However, Government has been feverishly working to repair the Road Town terminal and recently even removed the large vessel that was lodged on the side of the Parking lot.
Plan for West End
The state of the West End ferry dock was less than perfect before the September calamities and became drastically worse as the terminal was almost flattened by the hurricane. However, it was noted that plans to find a temporary solution were moving forward.
An update was provided on during the 8 March sitting of the House of Assembly by Minister for Communication and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool who disclosed that Government has made an effort to secure a temporary facility: “In order for the operation to resume a temporary building has been ordered for the Sophers Hole ferry terminal and was expected to be shipped on the 19 February. It is expected to arrive in the Territory shortly and it would be erected shortly thereafter.”
Hon. Vanterpool said that his Ministry is hoping to have a temporary terminal operational by the end of April this year. Hon. Vanterpool also noted that the Ports Authority is currently considering a trailer to house the Customs and other similar operations at the Sopher’s Hole jetty.
However, the Minister said that he cannot say if the Port will purchase this retrofitted trailer that is being discussed. “They are having discussions on the matter in fact within the same tent discussion they have been discussing.”