Residents on Jost Van Dyke will soon have the ability to pay their utility bills on the sister island following the completion of the newly constructed multi-usage facility at the Dog Hole Jetty.
This was revealed at the opening ceremony of the facility on Monday where it was announced that the building will be in full operation starting Friday, January 15, 2021.
The building will house agencies such as Her Majesty’s Customs, Immigration, BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Tourist Board, BVI Electricity Corporation, the Water & Sewerage Department and local vendors.
“We acknowledge that previously there was a wooden building but this newly modernized building will feature security amenities, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a slope of initiatives that would make this place one that is comfortable for both residents and visitors. We also acknowledge that there will be vendors present as we know that persons would want to grab a drink or something to eat,” Territorial At-Large Representative, Sharie de Castro said while detailing some of the many features of the newly designed building.
She added: “We will be able to pay our electricity bills on the island once this facility opens. [I am] am also recognizing that the government has moved towards a slope of e-government legislation that persons would also in the new year, be able to pay bills online.”
Designed for persons with disabilities
Chairman of the Board at the BVI Ports Authority Kelvin Hodge, said one of the key features of the building is that it now has the ability to facilitate persons with disabilities.
He said: “This new ferry terminal building that I stand in front of today is equipped with everything necessary for Customs and Immigration services. The scope of the project comprises of constructing this 2538 square-foot building that will serve as the main arrival hall for Jost Van Dyke and in addition provide office space for some government services.”
“When tasked with the design of this arrival terminal, the architect Mr Sirron Scatliffe designed a building with the comfort of the passenger being an important feature. The creating of a hassle-free experience for passengers also include a need to construct a facility that is easily accessible by the people who have disabilities,” Hodge added.
Premier delivers on his promise
Meanwhile, Representative of the Second District where Jost Van Dyke is located, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull said he has been lobbying for the facility to be built since the 2017 hurricanes. He thanked Premier Andrew Fahie for delivering on his promise.
He said the building is one he would have requested for during his tenure under the previous NDP administration, but his plea fell on deaf ears.
“The now Premier Andrew A Fahie and his government — I think it was a year ago that he opened the West End Ferry Terminal and he pointed at me and said, ‘Honourable Turnbull, we coming to Jost Van Dyke’ and I said to the Premier I would hold him to that,” Turnbull recalled.
He continued: “The first time in April when we had the House of Assembly, I brought the question to him and he said he’s going to have a design and everything done and then I followed up he said he’s working through it and then he gave a date. I am not one to do anything other than be real and the Premier said that by December of 2020 this building will be built and it is December of 2020 and the building has been built.”
Not an election gimmick
Premier Andrew Fahie said his administration is not a government of talk, and that he intends to deliver on the promises made.
He also assured residents the move is not an election gimmick, as it is not an election year.
“Jost Van Dyke is on the move … For years, you have been promised so many things and I don’t blame you for not trusting the government, I don’t blame you for not trusting any of us, because there are so many times you’ve heard so many things and you’ve never seen it,” Fahie stated.
“He (Turnbull) can say that he brought the former government over and he brought the governor over, but we have looked there and far and all over, but with them who he brought before we can see nothing. But when he came over with us, the new government, he can say that, despite his concerns on some areas, he can now see these things that I am saying, experience them and all sure to make sure that the people of Jost Van Dyke get a better quality of life,” Fahie stated.
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