Issuu on Google+

INSIDE:

INSIDE:

From the Schools

Holiday Gift Guide

Island Weekend & Culture — page 6

Thursday, December 12, 2013 |

SPECIAL REPORT: MIDTERM, PART 4 OF 5

Two years in, Vanterpool is touting ‘small wins’

But critics not impressed By CHRYSTALL KANYUCK ckanyuck@bvibeacon.com

“Mess!” shouted some of the 300 residents gathered under a “big tent” near the Band Stand on a warm evening in March 2011. It was the National Democratic Party’s official campaign launch, and residents were responding to Fourth District candidate Mark Vanterpool. “Our roads are in a —” prompted Mr. Vanterpool. “Mess!” yelled the crowds. “Our sewers are a —” he said. “Mess!” they shouted again. The routine went on for several minutes, with Mr. Vanterpool Midterm see page 28

The light that comes from wisdom never goes out.

Frugal in spending, but not in spirit

Christmas on Main Street kicks off holidays By NGOVOU GYANG ngyang@bvibeacon.com

T

he heavier the rain fell, the harder the karate students sparred. Dressed in white uniforms, the young Purple Dragon members performed in the pouring rain as hundreds of onlookers cheered from under tents set up in the Sir Olva Georges Plaza on Saturday night during Christmas on Main Street. “They are always awesome to watch,” said Collita Francis, whose 8-year-old son was among the martial artists. “It doesn’t matter how the weather is: They are always on target.” Other residents were not as brave: Participation in Christmas on Main Street this year was down from previous years, said orChristmas see page 17

By ERIC VOORHIS evoorhis@bvibeacon.com

Beacon Business..........................8 Vol. 29 No. 24 • 2 sections, 56 pages Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands © 2013, The BVI BEACON

Photo: NGOVOU GYANG Music students from the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports’ After School Programme play carols during Christmas on Main Street on Saturday. The two-day event also included the finals for the Clash of the Carollers.

Marching against violence Virgin Islands observes Human Rights Day

INSIDE

| bvibeacon.com | 50 cents

For those who have a positive outlook on life, the wind and rain only added to the mood of the Celebration of Life Concert held Tuesday night to mark International Human Rights Day. Others may have said it was cold and wet. But at least when the event

began, with a large group of students, parents and teachers marching down Waterfront Drive in the name of non-violence, the sun was beaming. “It’s really wonderful to see our young people participating,” said Gender Affairs Coordinator Lorolie Connor, who works in the Ministry of Health and Social Development. “Because what this represents is us standing in solidarity to take back our community, our territory, from violence.” Though crime in the Virgin Is-

March see page 21

Photo: ERIC VOORHIS Students walk down Waterfront Drive on Tuesday afternoon during a march that led into a Celebration of Life Concert at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park.


Page 28 | Thursday, December 12, 2013 | The BVI Beacon

Midterm

from page 1

rattling off criticism of the Virgin Islands Party government, which was in power at the time. Between the VI’s outdated ports, power outages, sewage overflows and dearth of visitors, the entire territory was “in a mess,” he said. Some eight months later, evidently voters agreed with Mr. Vanterpool, but his victory at the polls left the responsibility for a lot of that “mess” squarely on his shoulders. In an interview last month, he said that his approach in what is still a government of austerity has been to go after “small wins” when it comes to the territory’s infrastructure, taking steps that can get residents the maximum gain with the smallest investment of time and money. While Mr. Vanterpool says that these “small wins” are chipping away at the big projects that need to get done, critics of the administration have pointed to major setbacks that they blame on government bungling. Water and sewerage works are among the high profile projects that have repeatedly stalled, and a recent audit report harshly criticised the ministry’s handling of one of its biggest planned projects: the cruise pier development, which, two years on, has essentially had to start over.

Water and sewerage

One pledge that earned Mr. Vanterpool support during the election season was his promise to “review” the controversial Biwater contract with a view toward cancelling it. “We have to review that water story, but definitely we would be wanting to put a halt to it,” Mr. Vanterpool said shortly after being appointed minister of communications and works in 2011. But government soon changed its tune, and at a December 2012 water contract signing, Mr. Vanterpool told reporters that “the territory has to honour” the Biwater contract. Asked in July about the change of heart, Mr Vanterpool didn’t detail his reasoning, but said, “I can’t say that I’m satisfied with their progress. I am glad that they are forging forward.” When the no-bid Biwater contract was signed by the former

Midterm see page 29

Special Report

A MIDTERM PROGRESS REPORT FOR THE 2011 ELECTION PLEDGES: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHT BULBS

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Install energy-efficient light bulbs in every household within a year of taking office. Although some government offices and the homes of some seniors have gotten energy-efficient LED bulbs, supplying the bulbs for every household is no longer planned, Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said.

ANEGADA ELECTRICITY YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Officials will “fully upgrade” Anegada’s BVI Electricity Corporation generating station. The Anegada station got a new generator shortly after Mr. Vanterpool came into office, he said. Further upgrades would be related to a pilot solar programme planned for the sister island between the Communications and Works Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour.

RENEWABLE ENERGY REQUIREMENTS

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: “Enact legislation to require developers of properties with a cost in excess of $1 million to set aside a minimum of three percent of cost for renewal energy related products such as water heaters.” Rather than requirements, the ministry is focusing on encouraging the use of renewable energy through incentives, such as reduced duty for solar water heaters, Mr. Vanterpool said. Such incentives, however, have not yet been implemented.

ROADS: TERRITORY WIDE

YES

NO

PARTIAL

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Install solar lighting for public buildings and streetlights as part of efforts to reduce demand on the grid and lower long-term electricity costs. “We’ve been biting it off in small chunks, starting with the public roads,” Mr. Vanterpool said. The ministry has been experimenting with solar lighting for new streetlamps, such as those on the Methodist Manse Road, and LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, in the Central Administration Building.

RENEWABLE ENERGY LAW

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Introduce a legal framework for a “feed-in-tariffs” programme, allowing residents to produce alternative energy for home and business use and feed their own surplus energy into the BVIEC system. “The attorney general has a draft legislation in progress” that would allow energy consumers to feed power into the BVIEC system, Mr. Vanterpool said. He expects Cabinet to review the bill and pass it in the House of Assembly “early next year.” During the election campaign, National Democratic Party candidates said new law would come “immediately” after the election.

BVIEC’S CAPACITY

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Officials “will seek to build or improve eight miles of major roads per year, build or improve 12 miles of secondary road per year, and build or improve 20 miles of access road per year.” While this goal was out of reach, Mr. Vanterpool said there have been road improvements, both patch repairs and major reconstructions. With nearly $15 million in work funded by a Caribbean Development Bank loan slated to take place, more substantial repairs are on the way, he said.

ANEGADA ROADS YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Government will continue road surfacing on Anegada. Several roads have been resurfaced, in keeping with work started by the previous administration, and the formerly dirt road to Big Bamboo has been paved, the minister said. The paving totals 12,000 feet – about two miles – over the last two years, he added.

JVD ROADS YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Improve JVD’s roads and drainage. The major part of the planned improvements has been completed, but there are still some outstanding components, Mr. Vanterpool said. Government is considering turning the two-way road in Great Harbour into a one-way loop.

ROAD TOWN TRAFFIC YES

PLEDGE: “Provide full support” to the BVI Electricity Corporation to expand its generating capacity. “Through conservation, investment and other means, … ensure that the generating capacity is of such that allows for rotation to allow for preventative maintenance.” “We don’t have a choice”but to increase capacity at the electricity corporation, Mr. Vanterpool said. BVIEC has one new generator at Pockwood Pond, which was purchased under the previous administration, and capacity to produce sufficient energy at peak times, for now, Mr. Vanterpool said. He added that as new developments are expected, generating capacity needs to continually increase.

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Build lookout areas and rest points on areas of the major road network. The ministry has put this project on hold, with a priority being placed on road improvements first, Mr. Vanterpool said.

SIDEWALK DEVELOPMENT YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: “Provide for all major roads through developed communities to have sidewalks.” New roads, including the recently completed Greenland Road and the widened Methodist Manse Road, are getting sidewalks installed, Mr. Vanterpool said.

ROAD CLASSIFICATION AND DRAINAGE

SOLAR ENERGY FOR PUBLIC BUILDINGS YES

LOOKOUT CONSTRUCTION

NO

PARTIAL

Review Road Town’s traffic situation “with a view to providing relief to the motoring public.” No Road Town traffic review has been completed, but the issues of traffic and parking are being considered as part of all Road Town developments, as well as the ministry’s ongoing work to implement portions of a 2005 Ports Improvement Master Plan, Mr. Vanterpool said.

ROAD STANDARDS

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Ensure that all new roads are “appropriately engineered and designed for 25-year flood” capability. All new roads are being built to this standard, which means they’re designed to withstand rain levels that tend to occur only once every 25 years on average, Mr. Vanterpool said.

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: “Redevelop roads according to the classification system and ensure that proper drainage is made part of the design.” A formal classification system hasn’t been completed, but the general understanding in the ministry is that the coastal road running from East End to West End is a main road, the Ridge Road is secondary, and other roads are feeder roads, Mr. Vanterpool said. In part thanks to the Caribbean Development Bank loan, which includes flood mitigation measures, new roads are being constructed with modern drainage, he said.

PARAQUITA BAY ROAD SAFETY

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Make Paraquita Bay road more “pedestrianfriendly” to ensure safety. With major roadwork due for the area as Biwater’s new pipes are expected, it doesn’t make sense to put in any major changes only to have them be pulled up later, the minister said. Short-term traffic calming measures — most likely speed bumps — are scheduled to go in next year, Mr. Vanterpool said.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: “Review and improve the existing public transport system with a view to connecting major institutions like HLSCC, banks and BVI Electricity to our main communities, with subsidies wherever possible to be provided to students and seniors.” No formal review has been completed, though leaders have continued a rudimentary bus system established by the former government. Mr. Vanterpool said the ministry has awarded a licence for one company to operate a bus system, and it now needs to work on helping set up stops for the buses.

CRUISE SHIP PIER

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Extend cruise ship pier and develop landside in order to create a year-round cruise tourism season. Two false starts with the Tortola Ports Partners, a group of United States-based companies that government proposed to partner with to extend the pier, earned a formal complaint and a scathing audit report before the partnership was finally cancelled altogether. Despite all that, Mr. Vanterpool said he expects the extension to be completed under the BVI Ports Authority early next year. “We’re moving as best we can,” the minister said of the project.


Special Report

The BVI Beacon | Thursday, December 12, 2013

A MIDTERM PROGRESS REPORT FOR THE 2011 ELECTION PLEDGES: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND WORKS PORTS OF ENTRY

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Declare Gun Creek, Virgin Gorda, and Setting Point, Anegada, official ports of entry. Gun Creek was declared a port of entry in March 2012, but Setting Point doesn’t yet have a facility to house the necessary immigration and customs officers.

VENDOR INFRASTRUCTURE YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Give “vendors opportunities to make a living with minimal impact on our country’s beauty by providing the requisite infrastructure.” This pledge was referring to the MCW’s expansion at Crafts Alive Village in Road Town, Mr. Vanterpool said. The renovations originally were scheduled to be completed in 2012, but were delayed until February of this year.

SISTER ISLANDS INFRASTRUCTURE YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Develop “roads, sidewalks, lights, recreational facilities and parks” on Anegada, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda. Anegada and JVD have both gotten new roads under this administration, and VG will soon have a new park, Mr. Vanterpool said. The road near Scotiabank in VG is also going to be the site of a “major project” to fix drainage in the area, he added.

WEST END TERMINAL

YES

NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: “Aggressively pursue” a new port at West End. Requests for proposals of an approximately $5 million new West End ferry terminal went out early this year and the bids are currently being evaluated, Mr. Vanterpool said. This government called their predecessors’ $43 million plans for expanding the facility excessive. “We’re almost to the point where we can come to Cabinet with that project,” Mr. Vanterpool said. Construction should start mid-year in 2014, he added.

ANEGADA FERRIES

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Officials will “seek to strengthen” Anegada’s ferry service. “It’s a concern,” Mr. Vanterpool said, since limited ferry service restricts the public services accessible to residents in Anegada. As in previous years, government has continued to subsidise Anegada ferries, “and we would like to do more of that,” he said.

SHIPPING RATES

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Begin talks with shippers to reduce the VI’s shipping costs, bringing them more in line with the United States VI’s costs. Premier Dr. Orlando Smith had some discussions “along those lines,” Mr. Vanterpool said, adding that some things to consider in these discussions are the increase in the volume of goods the territory now receives compared to previous years. He added that government also encourages private businesses to negotiate with their shippers directly, perhaps offering to use that company exclusively if the rate can be lowered.

WSD RESTRUCTURING YES

NO

PARTIAL

NO

NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: “Continue development” of JVD ports. Government plans to improve the arrival area at the JVD ferry terminal, Mr. Vanterpool said. “Ports Authority is looking at some issues there,” he said.

BEEF ISLAND DOCK

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Build a Trellis Bay ferry dock and develop a strategy to establish a “regular, high-quality ferry service between Beef Island and Virgin Gorda.” Government has put “most activities at Trellis Bay” on hold “until we can determine what’s happening with the airport development,” Mr. Vanterpool said.

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Ensure that water is “connectable to 95 percent of homes in the territory.” The Water and Sewerage Department is working toward this goal little by little, the minister said. “To get 95 percent connectivity would take a good three or four years more,” he added. He estimated that about 60 percent of homes are connected now.

WATER CONTRACTS YES

NO

PARTIAL

YES

EMERGENCY RESPONDER TRAINING

SEWERAGE IMPROVEMENTS NO

PARTIAL

YES

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Facilitate protective services and civil society to engage in “response training.” Government has continued ongoing emergency response training for Fire and Rescue and other first responders. In addition, the Department of Disaster Management has facilitated emergency response volunteer training throughout the territory.

PLEDGE: Develop separate passenger and cargo dock facilities on VG. Bids are in for the project to create a new dock at the Spanish Town ferry terminal so that cargo and passengers can be handled separately, Mr. Vanterpool said, but the bids haven’t been evaluated yet. He hopes to see the project start early next year.

JVD PORTS

WATER CONNECTIVITY

PLEDGE: Review all of government’s contracts with water producers “to ensure a sustainable, cost-effective water supply for the territory in the future.” The ministry and water producers are in ongoing talks, the minister said. Some companies are on month-to-month contracts and others are on contracts of up to eight months. Officials are working to determine what the long-term water needs of the territory will be and how the existing producers will fit in once Biwater’s plant is up and running, he said.

PARTIAL

YES

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Upgrade the territory’s 12 drinking water reservoirs — eight on Tortola, two on Virgin Gorda, one on Anegada and one on JVD — and upgrade the distribution network with a focus on leak detection. Improvements on the Zion Hill reservoir, which hadn’t been working for several years, helped solve chronic water shortages on the western end of Tortola, Mr. Vanterpool said. Other reservoirs, including the ones at Hannahs and Virgin Gorda, have also gotten repairs.

PLEDGE: Review and establish “a long-term management structure for the Water and Sewerage Department with a view to establishing a Water and Sewerage Authority as a statutory board.” Recent moves to merge WSD with the BVI Electricity Corporation are the first step in the process, although the two statutory bodies won’t be fully combined until some of their separate issues can be resolved, Mr. Vanterpool said.

VIRGIN GORDA PORT

YES

RESERVOIR UPGRADES

CITY MANAGEMENT YES Complete the sewerage systems in East End/Long Look and Road Town. “We haven’t really completed the mission,” Mr. Vanterpool acknowledged, citing a lack of funds as one of the causes for the delay. Setbacks have plagued Biwater’s sewage treatment plant in Paraquita Bay, but work on that facility is set to get in full swing in January. Mr. Vanterpool said other crucial steps have been completed, such as the replacement of a pump and the installation of pipes in Road Town and collection systems in Parham Town and Greenland.

ANEGADA WATER

YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Officials will “continue expansion of potable drinking water” on Anegada. A new generator has stabilised the water supply, which in the past would be halted by power interruptions, according to Mr. Vanterpool.

NO

PARTIAL

PLEDGE: Expand the Wickhams Cay Development Authority to include a wider area of Road Town, and establish a Road Town City Management Board. The ministry is moving toward getting rid of the WCDA and establishing a City Management Board to take over, Mr. Vanterpool said. “I don’t have a timeframe for it yet, but I know there’s some activity going on there to move it forward,” Mr. Vanterpool said.

FIBRE OPTICS YES NO PARTIAL PLEDGE: Officials will “encourage the establishment of a research sector utilising the abundance of fibre optics capacity which transits the BVI.” This would likely be handled under the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Mr. Vanterpool said, but so far it hasn’t happened.

| Page 29

Midterm from page 28

government in 2010, the company was scheduled to provide water from a new desalination plant at Paraquita Bay by November 2012. But after several delays, major works on that plant are only now starting to get under way. Government and project officials have placed the blame for the delays on unforeseen circumstances like a lack of well water in the area, which forced the company to use seawater instead. That meant the seawater had to be sourced, and a pipeline route chosen — issues that were the focus of discussions at the end of 2012. But opposition member Julian Fraser (R-D3) has blamed government, not circumstances, for the delays. “The project should have been completed already,” Mr. Fraser said at a meeting with his constituents last Thursday. “If I was there, it would have been completed a long time ago.” The former communications and works minister, under whose watch the Biwater contract was signed, insinuated that government was intentionally dragging its feet on the project. “Everybody knows what’s going on,” he said. Mr. Vanterpool, however, said government has been working closely with the company, and the plant is now expected to be operational by next November.

Distribution

The territory’s water challenges won’t end there, though: With a production capacity of 2.3 million gallons a day, the supply might be more than enough to meet current needs, he explained. “Once that comes on stream we have to be able to have more storage,” Mr. Vanterpool said, adding, “We need a better distribution line.” Like the Biwater plant itself, constructing a distribution network is behind schedule, Mr. Vanterpool said. Estimates show a Tortolawide water distribution network could cost $5 million, an investment made more critical by government’s contract with Biwater, which requires the territory to pay for 2.3 million gallons per day whether it’s used or not, Mr. Vanterpool said. “We’re going to be aiming for that very aggressively,” he said of Midterm see page 30


Page 30 | Thursday, December 12, 2013 | The BVI Beacon

Midterm from page 29 plans for the distribution network. Today, complaints about water shortages have died down, Mr. Vanterpool said, attributing the trend to the repairs made over the last two years, such as restoring the Zion Hill reservoir and building a pump station at Cox Heath. Public water is being supplied on a daily basis to Road Town and to other areas, while some outlying areas get consistent delivery three days a week, according to Mr. Vanterpool. In much of the territory, the public supply shuts off at about 7 each evening and comes back on again at 5 a.m., he said. “That is not satisfactory,” Mr. Vanterpool added. “In our country we need to have water on a consistent basis — daily and for 24 hours.”

The cost of water

Despite the fact that residents and businesses pay for it, water is among the biggest financial challenges in the ministry. This year, for example, government expects to collect about $6 million from water bills, but the supply cost will be about $12 million, according to Mr. Vanterpool. Rather than trying to get residents to pay more for water to make up the deficit, the ministry has been reviewing water producers’ contracts, he said. While water production companies have been cooperative and seem open to the idea of lowering their prices in exchange for longer-term contracts, the uncertainty of just how much water the territory will need in the next few years makes long-term contracts risky, Mr. Vanterpool explained. “We think the demand will at some point be about four million [gallons per day],” he said, adding, “But there is a grey area of two or three years.”

Sewerage

On the other end of the pipeline, Mr. Vanterpool said getting rid of the sewage running on the streets of Road Town is one of the accomplishments he’s most proud of during his time in office. “When I came into office it was a terrible situation,” Mr. Vanterpool said. “It was obnoxious at times.” The main improvement was a

new pump station at the Road Town Roundabout, which was completed and handed over to the ministry in July. At the handover, Mr. Vanterpool said the new pump would prevent the clogs and overflows that had caused the problem. These works, however, represent only a small portion of the larger National Sewerage Project that NDP members promised to complete during their term in office. In addition to the water plant, Biwater is also supposed to build the territory’s first large-scale sewage treatment plants, which Biwater’s VI Project Manager Richard Smith told the Beacon this month should also be completed by November 2014 along with the rest of the company’s projects. Some of the work promised in August 2010 when the previous administration signed a $1.9 million contract with CBE is also still outstanding. At the time, CBE was said to be handling engineering and management of an estimated $45 million in works like a Greenland pump station, sewerage connections for homes in the Long Look area, installation of video inspection equipment and other works. The works were supposed to have been completed by October 2012, and the delays cost government an additional $261,000 in contract breach fees this year. The contracts to complete the Road Town portion of the National Sewerage Project were signed in February, but so far only some of the necessary pipes have been laid, such as those near FirstBank. In addition to being short on funds, the works hit another major hurdle earlier this year: The soil workers were digging to lay the pipe began caving in. Mr. Vanterpool said workers need to install support structures before laying the rest of the pipe. But funding for such projects has also been a problem. After funds that had been earmarked for sewerage works went instead to the new hospital, government will need to secure another loan before a “major push” on sewerage works happens next year, according to the minister.

Ports

Without a doubt, the highestprofile project under Mr. Vanterpool’s portfolio has been the

Special Report cruise ship pier. Opposition members and commentators have been vocal about their disagreements with the previously planned $75 million development to be completed with the Tortola Ports Partners. Announced in March 2012 and unveiled that June, the plan would have given the United States-based consortium a 48year lease to Crown land near the cruise ship pier, as well as a portion of the per-visitor tax the territory receives from cruise ship passengers. In exchange, TPP would provide the upfront investment to construct the pier extension and on-land attractions, according to plans shown at a June public meeting. But between the formation of the TPP partnership and the unveiling of plans, government signed on to the Protocols for Effective Financial Management. The document obliged the territory to enact sweeping financial reforms. More pertinent to the MCW, it spelled out exactly how government capital projects, including public-private partnerships, should be carried out. “Therefore it was incumbent on us to take the project out to international bid,” Mr. Vanterpool said. The bidding process eventually led to proposals from two firms: TPP and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. TPP was selected, and RCCL cried foul about the process. In a January letter from RCCL’s Vice President for Commercial Development John Tercek to VI officials, the company accused government of favouring TPP, and said the entire selection process was “questionable and unlawful.” Then in September, citing timing concerns, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith announced that the deal with TPP was off. Government would work through the BVI Ports Authority to complete the pier extension instead, he said. Even after the partnership was over, however, government’s issues with TPP weren’t. In November, several media houses, including the Beacon, obtained a copy of an audit of the cruise ship pier project. According to a report completed by the Auditor General’s Office, the initial TPP agreement was undertaken without the appropriate input of the BVIPA, and officials “largely ignored” the ter-

ritory’s Public Finance Management Regulations, among several other concerns.

Transparency

The report also found a general lack of transparency in the process of selecting a partner for the project, something that opposition member Julian Fraser (RD3) has criticised repeatedly. In May during one HOA meeting, Mr. Fraser asked Dr. Smith about the project. Specifically, Mr. Fraser wanted to know about government’s deal with TPP, and whether the agreement included local investors. In response, Dr. Smith said that ongoing negotiations meant it would be “contrary to the public interest” to answer the question. Neither Mr. Fraser nor First District Representative Andrew Fahie was satisfied with the answer. “If questions about projects cannot be answered in the House because it’s against the public’s interest, then we also have to look about the government not proceeding with the project until they can answer,” Mr. Fahie said. Later in the sitting, Mr. Fraser asked Mr. Vanterpool to “step back and consider listening to the masses” and halt the project given public criticism and concerns about whether the tendering process was fair. Last month, Mr. Fraser cited his desire to continue to call for transparency on the project as the reason for his resignation from the HOA’s Public Accounts Committee. At a meeting with constituents on Dec. 5, Mr. Fraser said it was no surprise the project was called off. “Anything that starts wrong can’t end right. This project is no exception,” Mr. Fraser said. He also took some credit for the project being halted, telling residents that his July motion for a vote of no confidence “was without question a part of the reason” it was cancelled.

out for the better.” Fresh from a meeting with the BVIPA steering committee for the project, Mr. Vanterpool said, “It’s going to take a lot of work to make the goal.” He added, “If I’m realistic, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s accomplishable.” The steering committee, which includes legal and accounting advisors, has said the project can still be completed by the first quarter of 2015, according to the minister. “I said please consider first quarter to be January,” Mr. Vanterpool added. Despite the numerous challenges, Mr. Vanterpool remains optimistic about government’s ability to deliver on its promises by the time its four-year term ends. “I am not one who is deterred or hampered by challenges or even by criticism. Criticism is good,” Mr. Vanterpool said in the November interview. “You learn from them and you try to do better.”

FOR RENT 2 Bedrooms, 2 baths waterfront Cottage with dock in East End - $1,350 includes electricity, water, WIFI. Call Mike at 4992991. 2 Studios and 1 bedroom apartments available on Little Dix Hill, opposite Upper Room Church - $550 and $650/month. Interested person may contact Ms. Penn at 543-5095 or 5411634.

HELP WANTED Rebel Charters, Sea Cows Bay is seeking one Cook and a Helper. Call 543-8348

‘Frustrating’

The minister calls the project his biggest challenge. “It was frustrating for me because my main concern was getting this project done in time to be able to provide revenue and establish a more stable cruise industry,” Mr. Vanterpool said. He added that now that the project will be government-owned and controlled, “it probably worked

REAL ESTATE Property for Sale at Nanny Cay Marina, Sea Cows Bay, Tortola: Block 2735C Registration Section: Sea Cows Bay, Strata Lot 1 on Pcl 113 – a 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms dwelling house of approx. 1830 sqft. Asking price $825,000. Contact Chris Smith on 495-3000.


Midterm report: Communications & Works