Clutching a pen to sign a $30.7 million contract that will see 1,300 feet added to the territory’s cruise ship pier, Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said Tuesday was a “red letter day in the history of the Virgin Islands.”
For supporters of government’s troubled and stalled efforts to complete the project, the signing of the contract with IDL Projects Inc./Meridian Construction Company was a hopeful sign that Mr. Vanterpool pledged would soon be followed by tangible progress.
“With the documents signed today, we are actually taking a step closer to the vision, as we will actually see some work on site in the next week or two,” Mr. Vanterpool said at a ceremony held at the Premier’s Office Tuesday evening. “This makes us very excited, because as many of you know it has been quite a process to get us to this point.”
That process has been the subject of frequent public debate in recent months, with growing criticism targeting Mr. Vanterpool, BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Claude Skelton-Cline, and the National Democratic Party-led government generally.
But at the signing ceremony, officials expressed relief that construction would soon start, and optimism that the tight timeline will be met.
The minister pledged that one side of the pier would be finished by “early January 2015,” with the rest of the marine works finished by March. The contractors — IDL Projects is based in British Columbia, Canada, while Meridian Construction is a VI-based firm — are working together in a joint venture.
Mr. Vanterpool said that the five bids received for the marine works ranged from IDL/Meridian’s winning $30.7 million bid to a $46 million proposal from the firm Caribbean Port Construction.
See the April 24, 2014 edition for full coverage.