The Caribbean Development Bank’s $15.67 million loan to the Virgin Islands will be a “stabilising factor” for government, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith said in a May 23 address delivered during a meeting of the bank’s board of governors in Barbados.

The loan will allow the VI to “not only repair and improve our transportation and drainage infrastructure in the Virgin Islands to the benefit of residents and visitors alike, but will also serve as a useful economic tool that will help mitigate current employment challenges in the construction sector,” said Dr. Smith, who is also the minister of finance.

The premier spoke on behalf of the Caribbean British overseas territories, which he said have all benefitted from the CDB’s assistance.

The bank approved the VI’s loan last summer, and the House of Assembly approved it soon after, but without United Kingdom approval, the loan “was not pursued,” according to a government press release.

UK approval came earlier this month, Dr. Smith announced at the May 18 ceremony opening Gun Creek Harbour as an official port of entry.

See the May 31, 2012 edition for full coverage.