Statement by the Honourable Kye M. Rymer
Minister for Communications and Works
18th May 2023
Water Infrastructure Replacement and Upgrade and American Airlines Additional Flights
Thank you Madam Speaker, I say a fifth district good afternoon to each and every one of you under the sound of my voice whether present or online. It's a pleasure to be in the fifth district, it's a pleasure to be here in this Fifth House of Assembly, before I start, I just want to thank God. Thank God for all his mercies and his blessings for having me here in this Fifth House of Assembly. I also thank my wife, Suzanne, for her unwavering support throughout this journey, and my daughters who are here present today, excited to be here for this special day. I also thank my family, I thank the people of the Fifth District for the confidence that they placed in me to represent them yet again. Madam Speaker I also thank all the persons who supported me, who encouraged me, prayed for me along the way, and I thank them for their support.
Madam Speaker, I extend congratulation to my fellow elected colleagues. I know that we're all committed to working together for the greater good of our Territory, and we've heard those pledges. We must embark on this journey, Madam Speaker to commit and be committed to improving our home for generations to come. Madam Speaker when we speak about unity and with the help of the Lord and that is the only way that we can move our Territory forward. A quick scripture Amos 3:3 states “Can two walk together? Can two walk unless they agreed?” Madam Speaker, we must be united in this house, and members have spoken of their commitment to working together for the greater good. I know we will not always agree, but once we do this in the most respectful way, I know that we will be working for the benefit of this Territory. Madam Speaker, we should not put each other down to damage the fabric of this country. The world is watching and Madam Speaker we must act accordingly.
Madam Speaker I thank you for being nominated andbeing the next Speaker of the House of Assembly, and I wish you well. I also thank the Premier for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Minister responsible for Communications and Works. Madam Speaker it was four years ago when I stood here excited about addressing the concerns of our Territory, but it’s only when you get there,you understand how things work, and Madam Speaker I have learned. Though we had quite a lot of issues, unforeseen issues, roadblocks, hiccups, hurdles, Madam Speaker, in the ministry we still made some progress but there is still quite a lot to be done. Madam Speaker I heard the members speak about the annual budget, it sounds good hearing that we have a budget of Four Hundred Million Dollars annually. But I just want persons to know for development projects in my ministry that includes water, roads, Administration Complex, Burt Point Sewage Plant, East End Long Look Sewage Plant. We only get Madam Speaker $12 to $16 million dollars of that budget to get anything done. So Madam Speaker, I just want it to be known that is not for lack of wanting to get these things done. But it’s because you can only spend what you have.I know my good Minister of Finance has committed to getting some money so that we can achieve all these outstanding issues.
Madam Speaker, we must focus, and our ministry we will focus on improving our water supply, improving our sewage system, and developing renewable energy, road improvement, enhancing transportation, and improving the city of Road Town. Madam Speaker we have quite a lot of projects to complete, we have some policy changes to make as well, and we will be bringing those to thishonorable House of Assembly.
Madam Speaker, we are committed to working for the greater good of this Territory. What the ministry is doing at the moment, we will be issuing an expression of interest to obtain the services of a reputable and qualified company to replace and upgrade the water distribution network through a public private partnership engagement. The ministry has already started working on that. I also want to make note that the Burt Point Sewage Plant would be up and going by summer this year and I look forward to that, we would be able to stop dumping sewage as we're doingit right now. Madam Speaker we also have the asphalt plant that should be up and going where we'll be able to do some resurfacing of our roads, as we know that they are in dire need of assistance. We have the West End Ferry Terminal also and we’re hoping to get that started later this year, and the works continues on the Administration Complex.
Madam Speaker, I pledge that we will make these things a priority, and I know the Premier is in dialogue to make sure that we would get the necessary funding to get these things done. Madam Speaker despite the dire condition of our infrastructure, Madam Speaker we can still tote that we will be seeing a record number of cruise passengers coming to our shores this year. We have partnered with Florida Caribbean Cruise Association where we intend to work closely. We hope to be able to do some home porting and other initiatives working in collaboration with them.
Madam Speaker the ferry companies have also spoken about the number of passengers that they have brought into the territory. So we're seeing that need and we've seen a desire to come to the BVI and Madam speaker as we as this government we commits to extending our runway. We must at this time, Madam Speaker, celebrate our upcoming historic event of having to welcome the first commercial direct flight from Miami to the BVI. When you go on American Airlines it’s flight 3989.Madam Speaker, on June 1st, we will be welcoming gueston that inaugural flight. Madam Speaker, I've gotten approval from American Airlines to announce that the demand is so high that they will be putting on an additional flight on that first day, so we will have two flights coming in on the first of June. Madam Speaker, the demand is so high that they have committed to five additional flights for the month of June. So we’ll see on the third of June, two flights, the ninth, two flights, the sixteenth, two flights, and on the thirtieth, we would have two American flights landing here.
So Madam Speaker I invite our entire territory to join us at the airport on the first of June. Walk with your flags, walk with your family, your friends. Let's give them a BVIwelcome when American lands here in our territory, I mean I know you can’t clap but this is something that you can clap about.
Madam Speaker. Before I wrap up, I ask that I read a draft of a proclamation. I just may give you a preamble. This is from the Commissioner from the city of Tamarac in Florida, the Honorable Morey Wright, Junior. He has BVI heritage, and he's an elected official in Florida. This proclamation madam speaker is officially naming the city of Tamarac on June first, Virgin Islands Day. This is to welcome the commencement of this direct flight and there'll be given us keys to the city and Madam Speaker I intend to be in Miami to cut the ribbon and accept that proclamation.
Madam Speaker this will help to advertise and signal the significance of this step for the Territory from a business and trade and tourism standpoint. So Madam Speaker, there is hope for our Territory I just want to read quickly the draft that was requested by the commissioner Morey Wright Jr, it states “Whereas the British Virgin Islands is a Territory in the Caribbean, bordered by twoUS territories, United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and whereas the people of the Virgin islands have, for decades traveled to the United States to gain tertiary education, access to medical care and for business purposes, and whereas the people of the Virgin Islands share deep bonds and a friendship and family ties with many citisens and residents of the United States, the State of Florida in the city of Tamarac and whereas the city of Tamarac has Virgin Islanders who serve the community onthe police force, own small businesses and is home to the family of an NFL star, and whereas the Virgin Islanders have settled in the United States and the state of Florida and contribute to the economic growth of the United States and the state of Florida, and whereas the British Virgin Islands is recognised destination sailing destination from their vacation destination for residents, and whereas the Virgin Islands have for centuries, settled in the region of South Florida and contribute to the society serving in various roles, including the hospitality industry, and whereas on June 1 2023, the first direct commercial flight between the United States will commence and service and serve to deepen ties with the United States and the stateof Florida. On behalf of the City Commission of the city ofFlorida, we do hereby proclaim the first day of June 2023Virgin Islands Day”. It will be signed by Morey Wright Jr. and by Michelle Gomez, the Mayor of Tamarac. Madam Speaker with that proclamation I read I just again want to reiterate the importance of this direct flight and I encouraged persons to come out to the airport on June 1st,and let us celebrate our inaugural flight.
Madam Speaker with those few words, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to say these. I thank you. Good afternoon.