Prospect Reef is the perfect model for studying the subject of capital and its value in driving the Virgin Islands’ prosperity.

The management of capital is the key driver of prosperity under the capitalist system that governs all our lives. Capital is the engine and chain that drives the wheel of a free-market society. Ironically, capital also decides social and economic outcomes in non-capitalist societies where governments instead of markets decide on the allocation of scarce resources. The VI is a capitalist territory, though the government looms large.

The appropriate value and supply chains in the journey from input to output govern the capital trail. A chain is simply the process in a specific market from initial input to final output: where supply meets demand. Prospect Reef is the perfect model for adopting the idea of capital chain.

Prosperity is the result of the increase in the value of capital as it goes through these various stages of the chain from original input to final output, from initial investment to revenue and profitability. That progress is termed the value chain with the related supply chain.

Capital is a chain composed of factors such as human resources, technology and finance that drive business from start to finish. The chain proceeds symmetrically: It is linear with asymmetric impacts.

‘Appropriate question’

How will Prospect Reef fulfill this idea of capital as a chain of value? That is a most appropriate question to ask. Looking at Prospect Reef as a value and supply chain will enable the project from start to finish.

It is crucial to manage value and supply chains according to the vision adopted by organisations and government in the quest to increase revenue, profitability and prosperity. There must be a vision of the capital mix and trail that is Prospect Reef.

To decide on the type of value and supply chain for a product, a vision of the whole chain is imperative, from start to finish.

The chain runs from suppliers and producers to consumers. The value supply chain and its links decide the culture of specific markets: in this case, the Prospect Reef project.

How does the value and supply chain begin and then end its journey? A vision for Prospect Reef is a maritime resort, hotel chain, leisure centre, condominiums, and business centre integrated and managed by a board. This vision is much like the past but grander: a pier park, mark two, that will employ scores of employees and managers and provide a boost for the VI economy. Prospect Reef could even be a second cruise pier for small ships and megayachts.

Promise of work

The building phase of the Prospect Reef project promises work in construction and project management. Once built, it should bring jobs and business opportunities for decades in tourism and retail. It must be a public-private partnership.

However, will the project move from ideas on paper to reality? Will the progression of activity be a priority for government and partners? Driving the vision to reality will require adopting the idea of a value and supply chain, following the progression of the capital trail, and efficiently managing the effort from the start to finish. That cycle can be termed the white paper. It will require courage and decision to take the plunge.

The supply chain best adapts to a manufacturing-type process where there is transformation of a raw material into what the consumer wants — the finished product. In the VI, the fishing and agricultural industry will best adopt the supply chain as modus vivendi in order to satisfy markets.

On the other hand, a value chain best describes the supply of a service, which is what the Prospect Reef project mainly offers: services to tourism and tourism-oriented businesses.

There is a strong link between the supply and value chain. This writer uses both in an interwoven way, but always with the idea that it is simply the movement of capital in one form or the other, increasing in value as it advances to its final destination. The chain, like the chain driving the wheels of a steam engine, follows a trail decided by the vision of the project.

Managing capital and the chain of capital — technology, human resources, finance, land and innovation — in an ordered, symmetrical, innovative, efficient and contemplative manner avoids error in how critical projects are adopted.

On the other hand, ignoring the role of the capital mix and trail in social and economic development is a song to white elephants, waste and under-development.