This design for the new West End ferry terminal was posted this week on the Recovery and Development Agency’s website along with a press release announcing the reopening of the tender process for the facility’s construction. (Graphic: RDA)

The Recovery and Development Agency is re-tendering the West End ferry terminal project after disqualifying all nine firms that attempted to prequalify in a previous tender process launched in May.

Now, the RDA has revised the qualification criteria and is again inviting firms to prequalify this month with an eye toward issuing a bid invitation next month.

The submissions by the nine firms that responded to the first invitation were shared with the Caribbean Development Bank, which provided the broader $65 million recovery loan that is being tapped to fund the project, according to the RDA.

“Each submission was examined individually to confirm compliance with the requirements of the prequalification document issued,” RDA Director of Procurement John Primo explained in a Monday press release. “Initial completeness checks were done on documents of each firm to confirm whether the requested forms and supporting documents [had] been duly completed and submitted. As a result of this evaluation, it was determined that none of the submissions fully met the requirements of the prequalification notice nor submitted fully responsive prequalification documents.”

After this assessment, he added, the RDA revised the requirements with the CDB’s approval.

On Monday, it issued the new invitation.


In some respects, the new invitation is the same as the previous one.

Both stated that considerabusinesses that are more than 50 percent beneficially owned by citizens or residents of CDB member countries; which are based in member countries of the CDB; and which have experience as a prime contractor with at least two assignments of similar nature to the West End ferry terminal.

But in other areas, the new invitation eases the previous requirements. For instance, it requires a bidder’s average annual turnover to be at least $10 million instead of the $15 million requested in May. Companies must also have a demonstrable cash flow of $2 million rather than the previous $5 million, and they must have completed projects valued at $12 million rather than $15 million.

Interested businesses have until the end of this month to submit their prequalification documents to the RDA.

To assist bidders in responding to such invitations, the RDA invited contractors to a “Winning in Construction Procurement Workshop” scheduled for Aug. 24.

Years of delays

Officials have said the West End terminal previously cleared about 40 percent of all arrivals into the Virgin Islands before it was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

But successive governments had been promising a new terminal for more than a decade by that time.

The largest plan, costed at some $40 million, was proposed in 2010 under a Virgin Islands Party-led government in which Andrew Fahie, who then represented West End and the rest of the First District, served as minister of education and culture.

But after the National Democratic Party came to power in 2011, then-Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said the project would be scaled back dramatically.

In 2013, he proposed a facility costing just under $5 million, but those plans never got off the ground either. In 2014, the BVI Ports Authority issued a tender notice seeking a $3 million terminal in West End, but no updates followed before Irma.

After Irma

About four months after Irma destroyed the existing terminal, then-Premier Dr. Orlando Smith said the VI branch of international architecture firm OBMI had offered to donate its time towards drawing up architecture and engineering designs for a new facility.

But a new VIP administration took office in February 2019 with Mr. Fahie at the helm, and OBMI was not mentioned two months later when RDA officials announced a plan to partner with a private donor who would cover at least half the cost of a 27,000-square-foot, multi-level building with the capacity to process at least 200 passengers per hour and two ferries at once. That collaboration, however, also fell through without explanation.

Temporary terminal

Meanwhile, a temporary terminal was officially opened in August 2019, and in July 2020 government announced new plans to use a portion of the $65 million CDB recovery loan to build the terminal.

But scant information was released until August 2021, when Mr. Fahie announced that a $1 million contract was awarded to the German firm INROS for the design and construction management of the project.

He promised a new ferry terminal within three years.

At the time, officials also promised to engage with the community in ensuring the design of the terminal fits the territory’s needs.

After multiple community meetings, government revealed a “futuristic and organic” design in February 2022.

However, the RDA later walked back the plan after receiving negative feedback.

Instead, it invited the public to vote on one of three designs.

The new winning design — themed “classic modern” — was unveiled last December.

The terminal is to be a two-storey building spanning 12,000 square feet with features that will process passengers for both domestic and international travels.