The Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) has signed a contract that will see the United Kingdom government funding what is known as a Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network and a marine survey for the British Virgin Islands.
During the contract signing on Monday, Chairman of the RDA Robert Mathavious said it was fitting to see the UK team contributing some much-needed resources towards the territory’s ongoing recovery.
“Today we are here to sign two contracts that will foster and further the development of the territory that will strengthen the VHF communication for police security and the Department of Disaster Management. And, also a contract that will be extremely important that will help us better plan our marine environment,” Mathavious said.
A window to increased economic activity
Natural Resources Minister Vincent Wheatley saw the move as one that will open the proverbial door for increased economic activity in the territory.
“This marine survey is critically important to the BVI because it allows the BVI to make a very important step to move to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). It gives the territory a whole new dimension for entrepreneurship and for development,” the minister said.
He further said moving to the EEZ allows the territory to control the ocean’s current and the marine environment for about 200 nautical miles.
“I am really pleased to see that development taking place at this particular point … Although it might seem like a simple survey, it is really the fundamental thing that needs to happen at this point in time for a lot of other things to take place afterwards.”
He said an area the new survey will assist with is the much-talked-about environmental bill.
Meanwhile, the contract was specifically signed between the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the RDA. The value of the contract was not disclosed.
Governor Augustus Jaspert, who also gave remarks at the signing, noted that the agreement between the BVI and Britain follows a UK-funded project known as the Overseas Territories Seabed Mapping Programme which took place in September last year.
The programme was to gather a critical geographical survey called Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), which is a method of mapping whereby a laser scanner is used to measure the earth’s terrain.
He said surveying the territory’s marine reserve would help how the BVI maximises its marine resources and how it nurtures, protects and builds an ocean plan.
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