Ministry of Communications and Works
House of Assembly
Release Date:
Friday, 17 May 2024 - 2:31pm






MAY 16TH 2024

My fellow Virgin Islanders and Residents, I am excited to be speaking to you on this momentous occasion, our first-year anniversary of the swearing in, of this government, into the 5th House of Assembly.  

I hope you can agree, that this is a significant accomplishment. We are here because of you.  I am here because of you my neighbours in the 5th District.  I am here because you sent us, we are here, because you sent us and we are grateful.

As we consider the events of the past year, it is important to be truthful, truthful to ourselves and truthful that we acknowledge the reality of today, including the hardships and challenges that we are all facing together, whether we are citizens, residents or even business owners.  

These challenges stem from a range of factors, including the storms of 2017, the Covid-19 pandemic, the impacts brought on us by the unfortunate circumstances of our former Leader of Government Business and the ongoing implementation of the COI recommendations, which have changed the way in which this Government and any future government must operate.

As our procedures and protocols change, so must our mindset and behaviour.

For example, ghut cleaning and bush cutting, gone are the days when contracts could simply be issued based on adding one’s name.

The process, as it stands, demands competitive bidding amongst contractors for all projects, regardless of the value of the work and we MUST comply.

But we should and will find ways within the ambit of the rules to address these issues that are plaguing us. This though is indeed possible to achieve.

Besides being the 5th District representative, I am your Minister for Communications and Works and as painful as it is for me, I must acknowledge the dire state of our infrastructure of which we are all aware.  

You know that our need for financial investment in this Territory’s is beyond Urgent.

However, I want to assure you that while I wait for the funds, we have drafted the plans and we have the capability to address these issues.

Water is another area of concern.  The cry for action from all of you, has reached my ears repeatedly.

Rest assured; we are working tirelessly to secure the necessary resources to improve our infrastructural woes. So, while we acknowledge the challenges, we continue to work, and there is hope.

But all is not gloom and doom.

The Government of the Virgin Islands recently celebrated some significant achievements with you at our side.

We witnessed the inaugural, nonstop flight from Miami to our beautiful Virgin Islands by American Airlines, which has led to an increase in daily flights, and a promising demand for air travel to these Virgin Islands.

You will recall that the service was temporarily halted during the summer months, and eventually resumed.

But let me be the first to tell you that, American Airlines will land every day at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport runway, even up to five times a day on certain Saturdays in the upcoming season.

Nevertheless, it is still urgent that we extend the runway of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.

And that momentum to extend the runway continued with a visioning meeting with stakeholders, and signed a contract to conduct a Green Book Business Case.

These actions demonstrate our firm commitment to improving our airport facilities.  So, yes, we embrace the challenges, but we will acknowledge our accomplishments.

In this first year, we were also able to re-commission the Burt Point sewerage plant, a critical component of the infrastructure.  

As you know, inadequate sewage treatment, affects health, safety and impact our daily lives.

This accomplishment also protects the quality of the sea water into which we customarily discharge the effluent, thereby safeguarding our marine environment and the well-being of our residents and visitors.

Furthermore, as we prioritise our stewardship in environmental protection and preservation, we recognise the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

The Government launched an initiative that allows, all homeowners to generate energy through solar technology.

By participating in the STEP Initiative, (Solar Technology Energy Program) by BVIEC, homeowners can have renewable energy systems installed at no direct cost.

The savings generated in the first two years will go towards repaying the cost of the system, and, therefore, homeowners will pay the actual cost of energy.

This initiative not only benefits our environment, but also helps to reduce energy costs for our residents.

Despite the challenges we face, it is important to acknowledge the positive developments taking place in our Beautiful Virgin Islands.

We must hold on to hope and continue to work together to build a brighter future for all.  

My pledge to you, is to overcome the obstacles I face on your behalf and create a stronger, and a more resilient Virgin Islands.

Thank you, and may God bless our Beautiful Virgin Islands.