Statement
31 July 2019 - 10:34am

STATEMENT BY HON KYE RYMER
DEPUTY PREMIER OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS AND

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORTATION, WORKS AND UTILITIES

MINISTER UPDATES HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON PROGRESS OF MINISTERIAL PORTFOLIO

WEDNESDAY 31st JULY, 2019

Mister Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to provide updates to this Honourable House on the progress of my ministerial portfolio on a few areas. The Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities (MTWU) continues to forge forward toward the improvement of the infrastructure of our Virgin Islands.

Palm Grove Shopping Centre

Mr. Speaker I begin with the rehabilitation of the Palm Grove Shopping Centre.

Mr. Speaker I am pleased to confirm that the Expression of Interest (EOI) No. 9 of 2019 for the designing, financing and building of the Palm Grove Shopping Centre is published.

Mr. Speaker after submission of the EOIs there will be a shortlisting of the applicants based on the requisite qualifications; these persons will then be invited to submit proposals to partner with the Government of the Virgin Islands to build a modern Palm Grove Shopping Centre.  

Mr. Speaker the selected partner will also be required to engage in talks with the original lessees of the centre who will have preferred options to lease space.  

National Sewerage Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker I am pleased to report that the works for the Cane Garden Bay sewerage treatment plant and sewerage network have been publicly tendered by Tender Notice No. 13 and 14 of 2019, respectively.  

Mr. Speaker the goal is to significantly improve and upgrade the sewage network so that residents will no longer be plagued with lift stations located at their private homes and businesses but rather a few duplex systems along specifically identified areas.  

Mr. Speaker this will reduce the lift station count from some 36 to less than 9 lift stations in Cane Garden Bay.  

Mr. Speaker the new treatment plant will be an Extended Aeration System that will treat the sewage to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards and hence a clean, environmentally safe and odor free Cane Garden Bay.  

Mr. Speaker we are very aware of the need for regular monitoring and maintenance of what will be a brand new network and plant, and with that said, the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities will be tendering the maintenance of our new treatment facility with the successful bidder working in partnership with our Water and Sewerage Team.  

However Mr. Speaker in the interim, given the failure of the current system in Cane Garden Bay, the Department of Water and Sewerage through this Ministry has actioned the following:

  1. Retrofitted the CGB treatment plant;
  2. Conducted an assessment of the sewerage lift station sites;
  3. Identified the areas with the highest flows;
  4. Procured eight lift stations to continuously manage the flows and lift the sewerage directly to the plant to be treated;
  5. Procured a government owned pump truck to pump as necessary on a daily basis with private services on standby for additional support;  

Mr. Speaker the mentioned steps have been implemented and two of the eight brand new lift stations pumps have been received and installed with the remaining, expected later this week.  

Mr. Speaker the operation described will continue until the new facilities are commissioned, my team and I will continue to do our best to ensure that residents and visitors will have a safe and clean environment at Cane Garden Bay.

Crafts Alive

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Crafts Alive:

Mr. Speaker my team and I held a meeting with the lessees of the Crafts Alive Village on 3 July 2019.  During this meeting several concerns were raised on both sides, including but not limited to:

1. Rent payment by the Lessees;

2. Patronizing the shops; and

3. Cooperation and Harmony among the Lessees.

Mr. Speaker, from the spirited discussion it was clearly understood by the lessees what they need to do to improve their united successes as a crafts village, and might I add here that the lessees have agreed that they will revert to the rules of the Crafts Alive Village along with improvements in product pricing, better product displays, a wider variety of merchandise, and to reintroduce entertainment and cultural exhibitions.

Likewise, I have extended the grace period for lessees who actually intend to make good on any outstanding rent payments as this Government strives to raise the standard of the experience at the Crafts Alive Village.

Perot Hill Reservoir

Mr. Speaker the One Hundred and Eighteen Thousand (118,000) gal Perot Hill Reservoir sustained damage following the 2017 storms and was only able to hold half its capacity due to multiple leaks causing frequent water supply disruptions to the North Sound residents.  

Mr. Speaker as of 9th July 2019 a brand new reservoir was commissioned and was built with more resilient material with an increased capacity of Three Hundred Thousand (300,000) gals.  With this, we are able to provide water to the North Sound residents 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. With this increased capacity, I must add that in the event of a disruption in the production of water, we now have the capacity to provide water 24/7 for up to 3 days.  

Given this, Mr. Speaker, it is needless to say that this has improved the lives of our residents of North Sound tremendously.

Territory Wide Ghuts and Drainage Clearing

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware the hurricane season is upon us once again.

The importance of preparing ourselves and the Territory for the bad weather that is usually associated with this time of the year cannot be understated. Of course, one can only prepare realistically for that which is foreseeable. Preparing for the foreseeable reduces the negative impact of these events and can help to minimize the impact of and recovery from events, the incidence of which, cannot be predicted or forecasted.

In other words, we cannot predict when the next disaster – God forbid - may strike, but we know for certainty that over the next few months that rain can be expected.

The Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities, and our various departments, have been working on continually improving our preparedness for the hurricane season.

One initiative under this programme of activities is the cleaning and clearing of Ghuts and critical drains throughout the Territory.

Mr Speaker, this work has already been started and will intensify immediately upon the end of the Festival celebrations. I am working very closely with the Minister of Finance to secure additional funding to complete this exercise.

Mr Speaker, this programme will be conducted in ALL districts and will provide an opportunity for citizens to obtain some temporary employment.

Also Mr. Speaker the need to groom our territory from over grown trees and bush is also being given priority in the upcoming weeks and the Minister of Finance has assured me that funding will also be made available for the bush cutting exercises.

Through these activities, Mr Speaker, the government and the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities, hope to reduce the inconvenience and loss to our residents due to the impact of inclement weather, to make the Territory safer and cleaner, and – coincidentally – create some job opportunities for our people.

Mr Speaker, I will keep this House updated on the progress of these initiatives and others under my portfolio as we continue along.

Mr. Speaker I thank you and members for your indulgence.

 

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