By DANIEL FLIGELSTONE DAVIES
The BVI Ports Authority is working to reopen the West End ferry terminal to accommodate boats to and from the United States Virgin Islands by the end of this month, Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool told the House of Assembly.
The new deadline, which was provided on Dec. 13 in response to a question from Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie, follows months of delays and missed promises.
Mr. Fahie (R-D1) also asked Mr. Vanterpool (R-D4) about what is needed in order to get the ferry fully operational and criticised the temporary structure there now.
“The thing so small, I had to go in sideways,” he quipped.
Mr. Vanterpool responded that the BVIPA previously had provided an Oct. 31 target for a “temporary building” to be constructed with a “security fence to meet the international standards for an international port.”
However, he said, that goal was not met.
“In fact, the Ports Authority made some adjustments to what was planned before,” he added. “Now they are going out to get a temporary building built down there to accommodate the passengers that they will have built by the end of January.”
The minister added that the rest of the project is still in its design stage, and when the designs are complete they will be brought to the public. However, he did not give a timeline as to when this would happen, nor was he asked to give one.
Mr. Fahie expressed his displeasure at the delays, claiming that “somebody either needs to be fired” or have their pay docked.
The West End ferry terminal sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Irma, and what remained of it was torn down.
Holes in the road
Mr. Fahie also asked the minister about the state of the roads near the West End jetty, around the Zion Hill area, and elsewhere in his First District.
“Madam Speaker, when you attempt to go Carrot Bay, depending on what size car you are driving, you wouldn’t see when you go down until you get it back up.”
He added that residents put a chair in a hole in the Zion Hill Road to ensure that no one falls into it.
To these points, Mr. Vanterpool said his ministry is working on obtaining asphalt to fill the holes. He agreed to attend to Mr. Fahie’s concerns urgently.
The opposition leader also asked the minister about the status of streetlight reinstallation in Carrot Bay, Little Apple Bay, Cappoons Bay, Smugglers Cove, Long Bay, Belmont and Frenchmans Cay.
Mr. Vanterpool responded, “Streetlights in the various areas in the country is an ongoing process which we are working very closely with the BVI Electricity Corporation on, and as soon as possible we will take care of Carrot Bay, Cappoons Bay and Frenchmans Cay area.”
He added that the process had been completed in the “West End and Belmont Estate areas” and “substantially completed” in Little Apple Bay and Long Bay.
“This is the report that I have,” he said, adding, “Smugglers Cove streetlights may never have existed there to my knowledge — the member may have a better knowledge. However, consideration will be given to streetlights going there in consultation with the land owners, as some of this is private road.”
Mr. Fahie responded that the minister had been given an “incorrect report” as much of the First District is “pitch dark.”
He also raised concerns that the lack of light may be contributing to crime in the area, explaining that a robbery had recently taken place.
He did concede, however, that some lights had been replaced.