The past year has seen the most progress yet on the government’s protracted recovery from hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Unfortunately, that’s not saying much.

First, though, the good news: The $14 million Elmore Stoutt High School buildings completed in January were the biggest public-sector recovery project to date.

This important success — which was complemented by the completion of some $7 million in roadworks and the start of a few other major projects — allowed students to finally come off the intermittent shift system they had endured for much of the previous five years.

But despite these victories, the rest of the public-sector recovery is still largely stalled for want of funding.

Elected leaders have themselves to blame.

To tackle a recovery initially projected to cost more than $700 million, they voted in 2018 to access an approximately $400 million loan guarantee from the United Kingdom and to establish the independent Recovery and Development Agency to oversee nearly $600 million worth of major projects over a seven-to-ten-year period.

This was a sound strategy, but they didn’t follow it. In 2019, a new government downsized the recovery plan to about $187 million in spending over four years. But leaders have struggled to advance even that smaller plan, mostly because they never accessed the UK loan guarantee or any other comparable source of recovery funding.

As a result, the RDA had spent little more than $46 million on mostly minor projects as of its most recent monthly report, covering June.

Meanwhile, many projects are far behind.

Some of them haven’t even started, including a public library and national archives in Road Town; a new trash incinerator on Tortola; a trash incinerator on Virgin Gorda; a planned Halls of Justice complex to house the territory’s courts; multiple community centres; a new cultural centre to replace the destroyed Sir Rupert Briefcliffe Hall; several urgent sections of roadwork; and the Isabella Morris Primary School in Carrot Bay, to name a few.

Other projects are under construction after delays, such as the new National Emergency Operations Centre in McNamara; the new marine police base; the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex; the Jost Van Dyke Primary School; and a new Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre.

Another major project — the West End ferry terminal — is currently out to tender.

Uncertainty surrounds other efforts, including the East End/Long Look sewerage project; sewerage work in Road Town; upgrading and expanding the water supply network; comprehensive museum repairs and restoration; derelict boat removal; and restoration of recreational facilities territory-wide.

Meanwhile, recent infrastructure problems suggest that government has failed to keep up its regular responsibilities in recent years even as the recovery has fallen further behind.

Power outages, for instance, are increasingly common. Then there’s the Althea Scatliffe Primary School, which was suddenly condemned last year.

The Pockwood Pond incinerator has not been repaired nearly two years after it burned. School buildings are plagued with mould and other issues. And the list goes on.

None of these issues are okay, and the public should refuse to accept them as the status quo.

Last week in the House of Assembly, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley repeated past promises to secure loans for major infrastructure projects by the end of this year.

This plan is the right approach, but it won’t be easy.

With interest rates through the roof and the low-cost UK loan guarantee now off the table, any borrowing will be extremely expensive.

But something must be done. A big loan may be a bitter pill to swallow right now, but large-scale funding is needed to accelerate the badly delayed recovery to the pace the people of this territory need and deserve.