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A year later: Minister still touts TPP investment

The TPP anniversary cake was cut this week

The TPP anniversary cake was cut this week

By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Staff

Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool said there is good reason to celebrate today – the first full year since the delayed opening of the state-owned Tortola Pier Park (TPP).

He added that, after the first year of operation, he has a clear view of how Government will repay the loans it had borrowed to undertake the development of the said park and adjoining pier in Road Town.

TPP was officially opened on the afternoon of February 16, 2016.

The borrowed funds used on the overall project includes $50 million from First Caribbean Bank.

“It was a good investment. Although we had some over-runs, we believe that the investment is a solid one,” Vanterpool told BVI News Online this week.

He added: “When that [loan] is paid down, the park will be running free of debt. We believe we see a clear path to paying down the debt based on the numbers that are coming. Once that is paid down, we will have a park that is going to last for a long time for the benefit of the people of the territory.”

The numbers

The revenues raked in from TPP were below projections up to late last year.

The Investment Prospectus, for example, showed that the government intended to collect $2,219,924 for the year 2016.

But Vanterpool recently told the House of Assembly that that projection was reviewed downwards to $1,455,497.

The minister this week stated that a few of the buildings at TPP are yet to be occupied a year later.

Also, the internationally acclaimed Margaritaville restaurant and bar is yet to undertake a planned investment at the facility.

“Except for Building Five [that is reserved for Margaritaville], we still have the rest of the project doing well. There is almost full tenancy – there are one or two stores that are being re-organized. By the end of this year – except for Building Five – the entire park should be fully tenanted.”

“They (management of TPP) are collecting their fees; the vendors are paying their bills up. So we are pleased that the investment is made. I am pleased with the investment. I want to make sure the shop owners who are there do well; we have a good array for them,” Vanterpool further said.

tortola-pier-park-1

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith (left) and Minister of Works Mark Vanterpool unveiled a plaque at Tortola Pier Park a year ago

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith (left) and Minister of Works Mark Vanterpool unveiled a plaque at Tortola Pier Park a year ago

Big support from shipping industry

Vanterpool also told BVI News Online that, within the first year of TPP operation, he has seen significant support from shipping companies and visitors.

That, he added, has left him feeling ecstatic.

“We have been able to, in the first year, see a lot of support from the shipping companies – not just Norwegian and Disney who have been very supportive – but also from many other shipping companies that use the facilities. The last couple of weeks, you got three ships in port – two at the dock and one outside,” the minister continued.

“The park has been bustling with business. I am impressed, and the Tortola Pier Park team that’s managing it (the park) – along with the BVI Ports Authority – has been doing a fantastic job.”

Vanterpool, in the meantime, bragged that the BVI is now being recognized as a big tourism brand since TPP opened officially a year ago.

“We are becoming very popular all over the world now. We’ve had great reviews from the customers who come. I am going to a trade show in Fort Lauderdale for cruise ships on the 13th or 14th of March, and at that trade show we already have appointments.”

“A lot of people from the cruise ship companies want to see me because they want to discuss and see if they can better utilize the BVI as one of the more attractive ports that they can come to,” Vanterpool added.

Throughout the first year of the project, however, there has been much debate over the overall cost.

Vanterpool, in January last year, shocked the territory when he announced that the overall project ended up costing $82.9 million – over $30 million more than initially projected.

Tortola Pier Park

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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17 Comments

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  1. NDP says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  2. Hmm says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

    That was the third time the cruise pier has been extended/built in 20 years and it still can only accommodate 2 ships. Hardly visionary planning!

  3. Ernst & Wise says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

    This the same bragging that got the ndp in last two elections. People please for god sake look at the facts.

    Ain’t no way in hell he will be paying back that over $80 million he spend in the cruise ship park.

    I will tell you exactly how this Government will by increasing taxes on all of us for their bad sinful backdeal spending.

    It’s a lie businesses are not doing good at the Pier Park mark seems to be making up stuff.

    Those who use internet please educate your families so Mr sweet mouth don’t continue disrespecting your family with lies and tricks about reviews and the true state.

    Can somebody go investigate that new building coming up in the one mart vicinity for Christ sake.

    All these politrikans doing is setting themselves up before they exit. Please hustler please!

  4. Concern says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    What a celebration but who made the cake 🙂

  5. Hmmm says:

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

    Agreement with Disney and Norwegian alone for 425,000 people at $15 per head whether they come or not, is $6.3 mil per year.

    This doesn’t include the income from other ships and future calls. Rent and advertising along with other add on services and $80 Mil becomes peanuts.

    Bear in mind that the only people they owe are FCIB and Investors as Government paid the rest of the money.

    Based on head taxes alone the Minister is probably right that it will be paid off in less than 10 years and we didn’t have to sell out the property to outside investors to get it done.

    The park is good and can only get better.

    I had my doubts in the beginning but the real test will come in the next couple years.

    Whether you like how it was done, we all must agree that BVI needed somewhere like that for tourists and residents a lot.

    Next step, addressing airlift and get some decent hotels on Tortola ASAP!

    • KPMG Girl says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

      There are ongoing bills to be paid in the tourism sector with that $6.3 mil you so nicely calculate among the squandering.

      By the time the Govt spend 2 decades to pay that back the country will have a heavy deficit and ready for more repairs.

      The minister should have kept cost down, there’s no value for the money that was spent. It cannot be justified and nothing to rejoice about.

      By the way we still cannot accommodate 2 ships. We are likely to be worst off after that debt is repaid years to come.

      Where will the money come from when it’s time to repair and expand again? When will Tourism see the return on investment?

      These are valid questions and the reason why the audited accounts is needed. Correction audited accounts that have not being tainted.

    • What?hmm says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      “They only feed to pay x and y cause government paid rest”?
      Where does gov money come from ? Us . It’s not just treasure. So hmmm. Bad math

    • A little to late! says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Poor you!

    • jones says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      How much per year were we getting in head tax before this was built? When we know that we can calculate what additional revenue this has and will bring to the territory.

      Now lets add in the fact that a number of those stores pay no import duty, which means that there is no benefit to the country. Many of those stores are owned by persons who do not even reside in the territory so this same revenue doesnt even circulate in our economy.

      Now lets look at the “Shopping experience” for these cruisers – each ship has its own shops on board offering a lot of the key volume items that are sold here, however they sell it at a price that is not even possible to compete with locally.

      The little old lady that used to be able to sell T-Shirts to feed her family is now unable to do so because they can buy “Tortola” ones on board for less.

      How does any of this really benefit the country? Has anyone looked at what it does to our overnight visitors, who are the real ones that spend money in our economy?

  6. Really says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    He only had a clear view after a year, what view he had during the year?

  7. SHAME ON ME says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

    “When the loan is paid off, we will be free of debt.”

    At today’s repayment rate of $1.4M per year it will take 64 more years to pay it off!

    DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE? DOES ANYONE CARE? WHY DO we let them get away with this.

    FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOUL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME.

    • What? says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  8. rastarite says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    What happened to the museum??

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