While stating that the costly airport expansion project is not vital to the territory’s disaster recovery, Director of Culture, Luce Hodge-Smith is recommending that government create separate plans for ‘recovery’ and ‘development’.
Hodge-Smith made the suggestion at a recent public consultation on government’s proposed recovery and development plan for the British Virgin Islands.
“Why do we have a ‘recovery and development’ plan?” Hodge-Smith questioned.
“We are recovering from all of these disasters and we should focus on recovery separate to development,” she reasoned.
According to the government’s proposed plan, $250 million of recovery funds is projected for expanding the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport.
Hodge-Smith described the airport expansion as an important venture but said: “I didn’t quite understand how the airport project fits into a recovery plan … Maybe we should change the topic or the title to ‘Recovery to Development’ and not ‘and’ Development.”
In response, Chairman of the Disaster Recovery Coordination Committee, Brodrick Penn sought to explain the reasons for the current title.
“The whole idea is we don’t just want to recover, we want to go beyond where we were,” Penn said.
He continued: “It’s a continual review. We initially had some short-term review, but to recover we have to put things in place to move towards development. The reality is that the long-term development is going to come over the medium-to-long term that we identified in the plan. But we thought that it was a good synergy and good opportunity to actually move from just recovery to development.”
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