354 James Walter Francis Drive
RJT Edifice Building, 5th Floor
Road Town, TORTOLA VG1110
Tel: 284 468 2730
Fax: 284 468 2750
REMARKS BY DEPUTY PREMIER AND
MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS HONOURABLE KYE M. RYMER AT THE ROAD TOWN MARKET SQUARE DEDICATION
AND RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY
Monday 13th February 2023
A pleasant Virgin Islands Good Morning everyone.
I would like to say a special welcome to those of you joining us both in person and via live stream at this auspicious occasion as we dedicate the long-awaited Market Square.
The Market Square project, commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on 12 October, 2020, is a signature project of the Government of the Virgin Islands to foster entrepreneurship and economic growth. The City of Road Town has been without a market for several years, and this Government ensured that this was one of our priority projects to be executed.
The Market Square is a historical site established in the 1970s and was the fourth (4th) official Market Day venue in the Territory. It is truly heart-warming to see the transformation of the Market Square from my earlier years of visiting the market with my grandmother to the structures that we see today. I cannot help but to reminisce on the commute to Road Town to sell amongst the other vendors or attend events here as a teenager. The Market Square is undeniably a prominent landmark within the City.
This Market Square project comprises of one bandstand building, which will serve as a localised gathering location for cultural activities and events. One bathroom building with access and accommodations for persons with disabilities. There are sixteen kiosks; six (6) 10' x 10' kiosks and ten (10) 12' x 12' kiosks. Each kiosk will be enclosed with hurricane-rated shutters, and these shutters, when opened will provide shelter for patrons from the sun and rain based on their design. Each kiosk is also equipped with a sink for handwashing and electrical power. A bus shelter will be constructed in the open area adjacent to the road with benches to accommodate up to 25 persons and serve as the central point for passengers to gather for collection by the bus operators.
As Tourism is everyone's business, in these beautiful Virgin Islands, we felt that it was important to present festive kiosks that will attract both tourists and residents alike. From today, this market will be bustling with vendors selling local and imported produce and goods, the sound of music, and people shopping. Further, we wanted to create an attractive area that our residents can be proud to visit and enjoy the local products, that also function as a recreational space for general gathering.
As Road Town develops with larger buildings, more vehicles and paved areas, there is an increasing need for green spaces where persons can socialise and relax. For this reason, we have incorporated the landscaping and will shortly install benches for persons to enjoy comfortably.
You will notice that we have incorporated the adjacent buildings within the proximity of the Market Square through the construction of our walkways to create a plaza-like experience to encourage the tenants in the surrounding buildings to visit and patronise the various vendors and to also enjoy the relaxing environment created. As I said before, we want the Market Square to be an inclusive place where persons feel comfortable visiting to purchase goods and relax.
After a restricted tender bidding process, the landscape installation and year-long maintenance contract was awarded to Minine's Plants and Landscaping in the amount of fifty thousand, six hundred and ninety-four dollars and seventy-nine cents ($50,694.79). This will ensure the upkeep of the Market Square's greenery year-round.
To date, a total of one million, three hundred and five thousand, three hundred and fourteen dollars and six cents ($1,305,314.06) has been committed to this project which spans a total of 4 budget cycles. Special attention was given to ensure the Market Square will drain adequately during the construction process. Lengthy concrete box drains were constructed that are interconnected and then crosses over to the larger box drain adjacent to the Sol Gas Station. The kiosk slabs are all outfitted with internal floor drainage. All kiosks have rainwater guttering with downspouts that are connected to a piping system and then connected to the box drains. The service road is sloped to allow for the proper flow of water to the drainage system or towards the main road. Further, the Market Square is raised at a minimum 6 inches above the surrounding road levels to ensure that any water runoff from the roadways does not affect the Market Square during moderate rain events. Finally, we have reduced the amount of hardscaped areas and have included more soft landscaping which will include grass and shrubs and trees to allow for a better drainage of the water during those rain events.
The first building constructed on the site was the bandstand building, which will serve as a central gathering area for any events that may be held at the Market Square. The bandstand was the first vertical structure on the site and signaled to persons that the project was actually underway after the substructure works.
The construction of concrete bases for the solar lights and their subsequent installation indicates our Government's focus on reducing our operational costs while safeguarding the environment. Fifteen solar lights were installed throughout the Market Square area to provide lighting to ensure a safe environment, particularly when vendors may be working through the night hours. There are still two outstanding components yet to be contracted; A new bus shelter will be constructed, and the shutters for the kiosks will be procured and installed. It is anticipated that the total expenditure at the end of this Market Square project will be approximately one million, seven thousand dollars ($1,700,000.00).
The Wickham's Cay Development Authority will initially manage the Market Square. In short order, tenderers will be invited to bid for the management contract to oversee the maintenance and operations of the facilities.
In order for vendors to obtain a kiosk, the Department of Trade, through the Jr. Minister and the Ministry of Communications and Works in conjunction with the Wickham's Cay Development Authority, executed an application process that encompassed an assessment of the applicants who were evaluated on their belonger status, possession of a valid trade license, their business concept, financial viability, credit references and the applicant having no pending litigations. I am proud to report that all the vendors here today have met the criteria.
I take this opportunity to congratulate you and extend my sincerest well wishes to all businesses that are occupying, and those that will occupy a kiosk in the Market Square in the future. As we are an inclusive Government, we have reserved a Kiosk for entrepreneurs, farmers, fisher folks for periodic use. We welcome you to request the usage of a kiosk at a daily rate of $25, once space is available. We have also reserved a kiosk for exclusive use by our Sister Island farmers and fisherman that commute to the City with their goods. We have not left anyone out!
I trust that all vendor business ingenuities prove to be profitable and thriving. I also encourage healthy business practices and appeal to all vendors to partner with this Government as we pledge to keep this facility clean and welcoming for all patrons.
This project could not be realised without the support of my colleagues in the Government and the work of my team in the Ministry. I would like to commend the project team for bringing to reality this new Market Square that we see before us today. Thank you to Mr. Duane Fraites, the Project Manager responsible for overseeing the project and Mr. Elton Smith, the Project Supervisor responsible for the day to day activities on the ground.
I would also like to acknowledge the previous Minister of Finance, Andrew A. Fahie and now our Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley. I also wish to commend the Jr. Minister for Trade, Honourable Sheeren Flax-Charles, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley and the entire staff of the Ministry of Communications and Works for their individual roles that assisted in this project including Deputy Secretaries, Ms. Haley Trott, Acting Deputy Secretary Mrs. Jovita Scatliffe, Mr. Bernard Grant and Mr. Dillon Robin for providing assistance to this project. I would also like to acknowledge the staff at the Public Works Department for their assistance towards this project, the Town and Country Planning Department for the development of the schematics of the Market Square master plan, and Mr. Jose deCastro of 3DE Limited for developing the architectural plans and designs for this Market Square project and all the contractors involved in this project, there are too many to mention today. I also acknowledge our City Manager who will take up the mantle of managing this project in the interim.
The construction of the Market Square was one of our commitments when we took office and I am pleased that we have been able to deliver on this promise to the people. The Market Square is just one component of the Road Town Improvement Project. With the support of my colleagues in the Government and my team in the Ministry, we have been able to beautify the City of Road Town with the planting of palm trees, improved the curbsides and sidewalks, widened segments of the road to create merging and filtering lanes, significantly improved the sewerage system, installed solar powered cross walk signs, made adjustments to the traffic flow, added an additional Eastbound lane on Waterfront Drive and we're in the process of adding an additional Westbound lane in McNamara.
One of our most noted successes is the Road Town Park and Ride Shuttle Service. We have ensured to include the Market Square as one of the stops in the Park and Ride shuttle service to maximise the traffic to the market. Patrons can hop off of one trolley, purchase their goods, relax for a while and hop onto another trolley.
We dedicate this Market Square today with immense pride and great joy. May this space encourage not only economic enrichment but recreational enjoyment as well. I close with reassurance to the people of this territory that this Government remains committed to improving the infrastructure and providing opportunities for a thriving economy and enhanced quality of life for all here in these beautiful Virgin Islands.
I thank you.