Who to blame? Several verses can be added to this Caribbean calypso to highlight the way our poor territory is being dragged over a cliff into the abyss.
The latest debacle is the recent public meeting about the proposed West End Ferry Terminal. There is to be another meeting today, but enough confusion and negative comments have arisen already to make government rethink this project immediately. It’s difficult to sort out exactly what has gone on so far, because the meeting, as heard in person, and the three online websites all carry different versions of the proposals, including different drawings.
So a German company is paid more than $1 million to produce a design, and gives us two drawings of the plans (and now a video on YouTube by the Recovery and Development Agency). The drawing shows a huge building, apparently designed for somewhere in the Middle East judging by the clothes of the figures depicted. Dubai Creek maybe? It is mostly glass, and the roof is covered in solar panels to provide independent electricity, yet the roof can be opened “to let in the sunlight!” Am I dreaming this?
I don’t believe air-conditioning was mentioned. Solar panels would be hard pressed to cope with that.
There is to be ample parking with electric charging points. One report says the site size is to be accomplished by reclaiming 50 meters of Sopers Hole, but we know piling in the past failed to find a solid footing.
The designers appeared at the meeting on Zoom or a similar programme, so apparently were not present. Maybe someone anticipated a public backlash. One wonders if they have been to the Virgin Islands at all? The design is said to be preliminary and will be refined as they go along to cater for rising sea levels, earthquakes and hurricanes.
The “mountains” behind will help to protect the site from hurricanes, though there are no mountains in the drawings provided, and no detail as to how this is to be accomplished. Perhaps they are going to build some.
July start date?
Although the design is said to be preliminary, construction is to begin in July, a little more than four months away. How, if there are no final drawings, tendering or contract? Or maybe someone has the contract already? If so, for how much?
I am amazed that the RDA appear to be in favour of this proposal as it stands. They have let everyone down since their inception, with several staff leaving, and seem to be the government’s poodle.
Many online commenters have much more to say than I do, and I suspect this latest plan will not see any more daylight. Let us see what happens today.
All this development in the West End — ferry terminal, Frenchmans Cay bridge, Carrot Bay — seems to be currying votes for the not-too-far-off election. I do hope the electorate will come to their senses and use critical thinking in their decision making.