The Huntum’s Ghut Economic Zone (HGEZ) project is slated to be completed during the second quarter of 2024.
Chief of Infrastructure, Planning, Research and Development in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr. Duane Fraites said that the initial scope of the project was for the construction of three one-storey warehouses for prospective businesses but has since been revised to two, two-storey warehouse structures.
“We had to revise and reduce the overall footprint of the project to allow for another business to operate,” he said.
Sections of the roadway, walkway and parking areas were paved in the fourth quarter of 2021 while the construction of the two warehouses started after an open tender process was concluded last year.
“We anticipate the completion of the warehouses in June,” Mr. Fraites said. He added, “The progress of the buildings were severely impacted due to delays in the shipping of the building materials among other challenges. Some of the challenges included, a three-month delay as two of three containers arrived in June of 2022, with the final container arriving and clearing in November 2022.”
He added that the contractor also expressed mobilising challenges, which further delayed the works in the erection of the buildings as well as having to re-mobilise after the third container arrived.
Chief Fraites stated that scheduled periodic inspections by the ministry required the contractor to make much needed adjustments, during which it was observed that some of the materials did not come as specified and required adjustments to be made to ensure the structures would not be compromised.
Following the completion of the warehouses, the road and walkway pavements will be completed. In addition, a new gazebo will be constructed and the bathroom building renovated.
During the groundbreaking ceremony in 2021, Minister for Communications and Works, and Fifth District Representative, Honourable Kye M. Rymer said he hoped that the Economic Zone will be an “incubator for economic growth and empowerment for our people, and its success stories inspire all Virgin Islanders and districts to follow suit.” He added that the ministry will continue to monitor and give regular updates with the progress of this project.
The Ministry of Communications and Works is the arm of Government responsible for the infrastructural development of the Territory. This responsibility is achieved through departments, statutory bodies and committees.