Two Virgin Islands companies received contracts for Hurricane Irma recovery projects amounting to about $2.3 million on Tortola and Virgin Gorda on Friday as the Recovery and Development Agency continued to work toward its May promise to award $40 million worth of contracts over the next 18 to 24 months.
Caribbean Environmental Restoration Limited was awarded two contracts, for road rehabilitation and slope stabilisation works at Little Dix Hill for $407,105.60 and at Bob’s Gas Station for $494,308.10
Additionally, Metro Construction Limited was awarded a contract to repair the Vanterpool Administration Building on Virgin Gorda for $1,410,670.79. All three projects were financed by the $65 million Caribbean Development Bank loan obtained shortly after Irma, according to government.
In his remarks at the livestreamed ceremony, Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer applauded the two companies for winning contracts at what he said was an international level.
“The Virgin Islands companies that have demonstrated the ability to meet the requirements of the CDB and other stakeholders say that the BVI construction sector indeed has the capacity to perform and deliver,” he said.
“It stands as a further testament that as we continue to grow our territory, that our people including our contractors can meet any international standard set before them.”
According to RDA documents, the works at Bob’s Gas Station include general site clearance and disposal, cleaning and desilting of existing drains, and demolition of an existing section of asphalt and concrete, as well as the construction of 35 metres of reinforced concrete pavement with 50 millimetre asphalt overlay, a 34-by-2.5- metre-high reinforced concrete retaining wall, 190 metres of reinforced concrete box drains with metal grills, 70 metres of swale drains, 60 metres of reinforced concrete kerb walls, and 55 metres of guard rails.
The works at Little Dix Hill include general site clearance and disposal; demolition of ex- isting sections of asphalt and concrete pavement; and construction of four reinforced retaining walls, a 592-foot reinforced curve with slipper drains, 344-foot guard rails and a six-inch thick, 131-foot-long concrete road pavement.
At the signing ceremony, Premier Andrew Fahie again touted his government’s renegotiation of the CDB loan, which he said “separated recovery projects from development projects” and ensured that local companies would not be overlooked in the bidding process.
“Your government could not sit aside and see the BVI businesses and workers pushed to the side and disadvantaged from being able to access the benefits of this cash flow,” he said. ”
He also stressed that the projects were “tendered and awarded through a transparent and accountable process,” but that government “cannot guar- antee if you are a contractor in District Nine that you will get the work in District Nine, but what we guaranteed with the CDB loan fund is that once you are a BVI company that you will be the one to get the opportunity to do the work.”
As the Covid-19 crisis has decimated the economy in re- cent months, leaders have sought to counter the economic crisis it caused while rolling out contracts for a series of projects.
Acting RDA CEO Anthony McMaster said late last month that by October, the RDA would have awarded contracts amounting to “just over $14 million” since May. On Friday, he explained that the agency is currently at work on its next projects, and is in negotiations to sign deeds of contribution for up to $210,000 for renewable energy and $400,000 towards the police marine base. Mr. Mc- Master also announced that the agency has welcomed four new interns as part of its apprentice- ship programme, who will work in the areas of business case development, procurement, environmental management and studies, and project management.