Allison “Allie” Petrus launches his new Petrus Plaza gas station and car wash in Fish Bay during a ceremony on Tues- day, when he announced his partnership with government’s 1,000 Jobs in 1,000 Days initiative. (Photo: CLAIRE SHEFCHIK)

Thirty Virgin Islanders have jobs because a new gas station and car wash is taking part in government’s “1,000 Jobs in 1,000 Days” programme, officials said this week.

Owner Allison “Allie” Petrus, who also operates a chain of gas stations and fast- food franchises in St. Thomas, officially launched Petrus Plaza in Fish Bay during a ceremony on Tuesday.

“It is something special that we saw about this project as a whole because in the final translation it meant jobs com- ing to the British Virgin Islands,” he said.

As Mr. Petrus spoke, vehicles continuously stopped by to wash and gas up, aided by the new speed bumps along the stretch of the road in front of the business.

In seeking the site, he “drove the entire length of Tortola” before settling on Fish Bay, he said. Mr. Petrus considered using a construction firm in the United States VI before choosing the VI company Quality Construction, he said.
Ground was broken before Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.

The interior of the building is not yet complete, but the second phase will include a food court and an additional staff of 50, according to the owner. Mr. Petrus said the plaza will be dedicated to his mother and grandmother, both of whom have roots in this territory.

Though Petrus Plaza is his first project here, it “will be by no means” his last, he added.

Jobs programme

Premier Andrew Fahie also attended the opening, during which he took the opportunity to clarify that all businesses — even those that can employ far fewer staff than the gas station — are welcome to participate in the
jobs programme.

“Even if we hire one person, that is one less person who is off the streets, one less per- son who does not have to worry and one less person who would not have to turn to crime,” he said.

According to the premier, 77 employees have found jobs so far through the programme, which launched Aug. 21.