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The Government of the Virgin Islands is moving forward with its recovery programme with the signing of Deeds of Contribution to enhance two law enforcement buildings in the Territory—the Magistrate’s Court and Road Town Police Station.
His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Augustus J. U. Jaspert and Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie both signed Deeds of Contribution to allow the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) to deliver on two infrastructure projects affected during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.
The Governor signed the Deed of Contribution for the design of the Magistrate’s Court at a cost of $187,000. The court was significantly damaged during the 2017 hurricanes and has subsequently been operating from a temporary structure funded by the United Kingdom (UK).
The Governor on behalf of the UK Government and Premier Fahie on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands matched contributions through signing of Deeds of Contribution valued at $70,000 for work on the Road Town Police Station.
Governor Jaspert’s signing of the agreement formally confirmed the allocation of the UK Government’s funding to the RDA. He said these projects are not only an important moment in terms of BVI’s recovery, but also an important investment in its criminal justice and law enforcement systems.
According to the Governor, the UK’s latest contribution of $70,000 will help build the police’s capacity even further, so they have the infrastructure and equipment to deliver their work to the highest standards and help to keep communities safe.
The Governor said, “Thanks to the RDA for leading project implementation and for their ongoing commitment to supporting local contractors and transparent ways of working. Thank you also to the Governments of the UK and BVI for funding the project – another great example of our partnership in action and the UK’s unwavering commitment to BVI’s recovery and development.”
Premier Honourable Andrew A. Fahie welcomed the partnership with the UK Government and its contributions toward recovery efforts in the Virgin Islands.
He explained that he is pleased that the Government of the Virgin Islands was able to ensure that allocations were made for improvements to law enforcement in the Territory.
The Premier added that the new Magistrate’s Court represents Phase I of the Halls of Justice project. He said the Government of the Virgin Islands allocated over $4M in the 2020 Budget Estimates towards the design and construction of the Halls of Justice.
Premier Fahie further said that he is pleased that the revised Recovery to Development Plan allows for more focused projects and commended the team at the RDA for progressing with timelines and delivering on Government’s recovery priorities in close partnership with ministries, departments, and statutory bodies for the people of the Virgin Islands.
The Premier said projects like these are able to come to fruition with the restructuring of the Caribbean Development Bank loans to give Virgin Islanders an opportunity to bid for projects and to participate in the development of their own economy.
Deputy Governor Mr. David D. Archer Jr. also witnessed the signing and stated that it was a brilliant display of the partnership between the United Kingdom Government and the Government of the Virgin Islands.
“The two impactful projects falling under the monitor of my office are significant to robust law, order and justice within the Territory,” he said.
Meanwhile, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Recovery and Development Agency Mr. Anthony McMaster said that as part of the RDA’s fundraising mandate, the agency was able to secure funding from both the BVI and UK Governments to carry forward both projects, thereby filling a previous funding shortfall.
Mr. McMaster said, “Today is a special day as instead of signing contracts for the disbursement of funds, we are signing contracts for the receipt of funds that can then be disbursed into projects that would benefit the community.” He added, “If you employ the right agency, you are guaranteed to get things done.”
The Deed of Contribution is used by the RDA to ensure that transparency and auditability are maintained for funds coming to the agency through the Government’s Recovery Trust set up specifically to raise funds for recovery projects.
Pictured from Second L-R: Deputy Governor David Archer Jr., Governor Augustus Jaspert, Premier Andrew Fahie, CEO RDA Anthony McMaster, Financial Secretary Glenroy Forbes, and Director of Programme Strategy Department Mr. Neil Smith