Statement by Honourable Kye Rymer
Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities
At the Seventh Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth
House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands
On Ministry’s Update
April 16th 2020
Mr. Speaker, I rise to provide this Honourable house with an update regarding the work of my ministry during this twenty-four hour curfew period as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the threat, there are some critical functions that must be carried out; however, the officers carrying out these functions are doing so with all due care for their health as well as that of their fellow officers.
I would publicly like to commend the Director of Water and Sewerage and Her team especially Her technical staff those distributing water to the truckers and those in the field as they continue to work diligently to ensure that the territory is equipped with water during these times.
Mr. Speaker, despite the challenges of a weak infrastructure that experiences frequent leaks, the Water and Sewerage Department continues with its work to ensure that water service is available to our customers, on a daily basis.
Since the territory’s mandatory lockdown, work continued at the department, and water is now available to some additional customers throughout the territory. Mister Speaker, I can say that a new pump was installed in Carrot Bay allowing customers at the higher elevations to have a consistent supply of water, daily. Again I publicly thank everyone at the water and sewerage department for working tirelessly to making sure that water is provided to these customers whether through pipes or water deliveries. You are appreciated.
Mr. Speaker, backyard Burning, or Controlled Burning, is used by residents to disintegrate combustible materials by fire, to avoid having to haul it away. However, the indiscriminate practice of Backyard Burning has resulted in the loss of property, produce, forestry and livestock due to resulting bush fires. Other results include the expose of residents to the deadly fumes emanating from these Burnings.
Though I am fully aware of the hardship the residents on the western end of the island are faced with because of the long-standing issue at the Pockwood pond incinerator I am very sympathetic with you but today I directly speak to those persons engaging in the practice of back yard burning.
The Chief Fire Officer continues to implore the general public to employ other methods of disposing of combustible material.
Unfortunately, the instances of Backyard Burning seem to have increased during the recently implemented Territory-wide curfew as a result of COVID-19. This makes the problem of smoke even greater, as the households have their full complement of persons, which means there are a larger number of persons that would inhale any resulting smoke. Therefore, I implore all to follow the waste collection procedures that were put in place by the Ministry of Health and Social Development. If you have noticed that your waste is not being collected on the day when it is supposed to, please call the ministry at 468-9030 and lodge a report so that the situation can be rectified.
Mister Speaker I would like to commend the citizens of these Virgin Islands for obeying and adhering to the rules and laws set out by this Government during these trying times and I encourage everyone to keep praying as prayer can change things.
Minister Speaker I would like to make a brief statement on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). I want to inform this honorable house and the people of these Virgin Islands on the matter of services from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Firstly, as part of a Cabinet 90-Day Public Service Operations Plan, the DMV will be prepared to facilitate the following services from both offices at Pockwood Pond location and the Valley location, while practicing Social Distancing Measures. Those services are:
- Licensing of Vehicles (sticker)
- Vehicle Transfers
- Registrations (new vehicle ownership)
- Renewal of Driver’s Licence
- Proof of Ownership
- Shipment Letters
Mister Speaker the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is scheduled to open on April 27, 2020, and persons are encouraged to call the Department at 468-4080 to set an appointment to carry out any services being offered.
I thank you, Mister Speaker.