Government has put the brakes on plans to extend the cruise ship pier

and develop the surrounding area so that the project can be put out to tender, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith announced Aug. 1 in a government press release.

“It is my government’s view that the proper way to proceed now is to halt the process as it stands,” Dr. Smith said.

The press release explains that Dr. Smith ordered a Ministry of Finance review of the planned project to see whether it conformed with the Protocols for Effective Financial Management, the agreement the Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom signed in April.

Financial Secretary Neil Smith found that the pier development process used to date was “an attempt to ensure a credible restrictive bidding procedure,” according to the release. However, Mr. Smith could not confirm that this process was “in line with international best practice,” the release added.

In a written response, Hugh Darley, director of the project’s developer, Tortola Port Partners, said the company remains “fully committed” to the project.

“We welcome transparency and respect the Commonwealth protocols that have been established to ensure that financially successful projects are being developed in the British Virgin Islands,” Mr. Darley said in the statement, adding that the public tendering process will help “clear up any misinformation,” about the project.


See the Aug. 16, 2012 edition for full coverage.