The absence of a proper garage facility for the firetruck based at the Taddy Bay Airport on Virgin Gorda is said to have contributed to the vehicle experiencing what the BVI Airport Authority (BVIAA) has described as ‘operation issues’.
Premier and Minister responsible for airports, Andrew Fahie, gave that indication in a statement on August 14; days after the airport was announced closed because of these said issues.
The Premier said the ‘suspension spring’ of the fire truck had broken, rendering the vehicle inoperable.
“It is important to note that, based on the advice I have received from the BVIAA, that the breakdown of the fire truck at the Virgin Gorda airport is connected to the critical work that was identified to be done at the Taddy Bay Airport, and which this administration inherited from our predecessors,” said Fahie, adding that repairs to the truck are underway and will be completed with the next 24 to 48 hours.
“In my statement to the House of Assembly on July 16, I disclosed that the said fire truck, which was purchased in November 2018, was being left constantly exposed to the elements during the day due to the lack of a proper garage facility for securing the vehicle,” the Premier further said.
Disagreement under previous gov’t delays airport works
Fahie also revealed that under the previous government, contracts valued more than $200,000 were issued to build the garage, along with other works but was never completed due to a disagreement.
“Sometime previous to the February 2019 General Elections, a contract was issued by the then Board of the BVIAA, under the previous administration, for construction of a garage for the sum of $89,000. Somewhere along the line, a variation was done to add an office and a watchtower to the contract for an additional $127,000,” he explained.
“There was a reported disagreement at the management level over this variation and the contractor halted work,” added Premier Fahie, who is also the Finance Minister.
Unless these issues are urgently rectified, the airport will continue to be vulnerable to interruption in service and more serious consequences which will affect both tourist and the public, the Premier said.
Normal operations are expected to resume at the airport once the repairs are completed.
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