The agency established to lead the territory’s recovery from the 2017 hurricanes is under new leadership, with former legislator Ronnie Skelton chairing the board. Premier Andrew Fahie announced April 29 Thursday in the House of Assembly that the Recovery and Development Agency board appointed on April 18, 2018 is being replaced.
Outgoing members gave written notice that they did not wish to continue serving after their appointments were set to expire on Friday, the premier explained.
“We thank them for the exemplary work they all would have done to bring us to where we are today with our recovery projects,” Mr. Fahie said. “They were able to achieve many successes.”
In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the projected cost of public-sector recovery efforts was estimated at $721 million.
The RDA was established to lead rebuilding efforts that were to be funded largely through a £300 million loan guarantee from the United Kingdom. But VI leaders have never accessed that guarantee — complaining instead about the conditions attached to it — and the RDA has been plagued with funding issues. Since its inception, the agency has reported spending less than $25 million on projects.
Cabinet endorsed the appointment of new board members including Jerry Samuel as deputy chair; Shea Alexander as a member and sister island representative; Marquese Maduro as a member and person between the ages of 18 and 35; Michael Fay as a civil society representative; and John Cline as a private sector representative, according to the premier.
Mr. Fahie said the new members would soon receive instruments of appointment from Governor John Rankin.
The premier offered his congratulations to Mr. Skelton, who is the CEO of the Skelton Group Companies and a former deputy chief minister. He also brings his experience as the former BVI Electricity Corporation general manager.
“The board members selected thus far were carefully considered, ensuring that there is representation from a wide cross section of groups that will ensure that the recovery issues within the communities, the sister islands, business communities, and civil society would be identified and addressed,” Mr. Fahie said, adding that the members “have the requisite requirements and a good understanding of the recovery issues that we face as a territory and are all qualified and experienced to fill the positions.”
He promised to announce multiple future appointments in the House.
The past board included Chairman Robert Mathavious, Deputy Chairman Clarence Faulkner, Gregory George, Maria Mays, Sharie de Castro and Clyde Lettsome. Ms. de Castro resigned after securing an at-large seat in the VI Party government in the 2019 general elections. Shane Rhymer took her place.
In June 2018, Cabinet also approved the appointments of David Hancock as the UK government representative and Monica La Bennett as the Caribbean Development Bank representative. Their appointments will continue until June 14.