BVI News

Gov’t meets bank reps – Damage in the millions!

Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool

Nearly two weeks after a tropical wave devastated sections of the British Virgin Islands, the territory’s premier has met with representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), signalling an interest in securing funds to help undertake major repairs.

A team is still assessing the damage, but a highly placed government representative told BVI News Online that the loss may be about $40 million.

When the issue of costs was put to Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool, he agreed that the loss is in the millions of dollars, adding that ‘serious money’ will be needed.

Vanterpool further said: “We are trying to get a rough assessment right now, but it is certainly in the millions… Besides the ghuts and bridges that have been affected, we have some major roads that have been undermined in many areas of the territory which is going to cost some serious money to put some stabilization methods in place like we did before.”

Vanterpool also told BVI News Online that CDB representatives already indicated an interest in making funds available to the territory.

“CDB has indicated that they are very interested in doing that. I met with them yesterday morning; the premier met with them… The premier has already been in discussion with them. They have indicated a very positive position to fund the mitigation efforts that we are gonna have over the next year or two as a result of this,” the works minister continued.

“Over the next three/four months, we will do the correct quantification and the engineering assessment, following which we will start to do some work. Hopefully, by the next rainy season next year, we will be able to deal better with some of these problems.”

Vanterpool said the CDB will be sending engineers into the British Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, the CDB, a few years ago, also provided the territory with a $15 million loan to repair infrastructure damaged during Tropical Storm Otto in 2010. Virtually all of that money has been expended.

Other projects ‘stood up’ to rain

According to Vanterpool, the projects executed with the previous CDB loan stood up well to the tropical wave last week. He made similar comments in relation to the roads repaired recently with a $16 million loan from the government-owned Social Security Board.

“We are happy to know that the previous projects we did under the CDB programme stood up well, and the previous roads that we built under the Social Security Board-funded programme have been virtually unscathed. This shows us that the way we built them and engineer them, we did well.”

“I think we are on the right track. The investments we have made over the last three, four, five years have proven to be good investments on the roads and the mitigation efforts,” added Vanterpool.

He told BVI News Online that, going forward, he will stick to the current formal regarding road rehabilitation.

“My aim is not to rush and fix the roads in a patchy way – just throwing down asphalt. That’s why it took us a while when we got in office in 2011 to redesign the roads and start the [first CDB road repair] programme.”

“I am really happy to see that, after all the rain, Sea Cows Bay road stood up, the Soldiers Hill road stood up, Chalwell road stood up, the Hope Hill road stood up, the Parham Town road to Beef Island stood up, Carrot Bay road stood up – just about all of the roads done under the programme have stood up extremely well. I am very happy, and it will encourage us to use a similar kind of design that we have used,” Vanterpool further told BVI News Online.

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