Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith is confident that some move will be made to push forward the Terrance B Lettsome Airport runway expansion project before the next general elections.
During a press conference that was held on 1 October Hon. Smith confidently announced that the project will move forward in the coming months. “I am certain that we will have that kind of forward movement.” In fact, the Premier provided a time frame by which something should be done to advance the project. He said: “By June 2019 because work is being done as we speak.”
In explaining where the project is at the moment, Hon. Smith said: “The airport authority has a group of experts working with them and they are having meetings with various groups and I am told that they are making good progress. I cannot say that we have selected anyone at this point but they are working towards that.”
Over the last few months, while the Premier has disclosed that negotiations relating to the project were taking place, he has not disclosed who the interested parties are. In a previous update during a press briefing on 29 August the Premier abstained from naming the investors.
He told reporters: “We see that (airport runway expansion) as one of the important things in helping to build the economy through the tourism sector.”
The reporters tried to get further details, but Hon. Smith was tightlipped about the details: “I have no details, but I am understanding that there are interest,” he said.
Nonetheless, Hon. Smith has maintained that the airport runway expansion is a must. In fact, during the House of Assembly on 26 April the Premier told his colleagues that Government remains committed to the project. The BVI Leader said, “We are looking at what we can do to continue to expand our airport.” “This doesn’t mean that we have to as we have discussed before borrow all the money for the airport at one time. It means we can do other things like having public private partnerships and other kinds of activities that can get us the money and get us the airport,” he added.