Government’s proposed plans for the recovery and development of the British Virgin Islands is currently being discussed with various sectors of society.
The plan is divided into six priority areas; all competing for a share of $721 million.
BVI News sought the public’s view on what they felt should top the priority list.
Below are their responses:
Hotelier Quito Rymer felt the three areas that should get the largest bite of the funds are human and social services, natural resources and climate change, and infrastructure.
“I know that they have all these things planned. It’s just a matter of fast-tracking them,” he said.
“Help the people so that they can get back their basic comfort in their homes. In my opinion, those should be high on the priority list. The water situation in Cane Garden Bay and the other places that have been wrecked, and the airport expansion; that’s a priority,” Rymer said.
Past President of the Virgin Islands Party Carvin Malone also believed that human and social services, natural resources and climate change should top the list. He said business and the economy should also be included in the top three priorities.
“We have to look at the human nature of this. The bricks and mortar will come, the airports will come… the ports will come,” he said.
“It’s about people. A shelter is very important for people to have. We have to make sure we have a sure source of non-interruptible source of food supply and then getting people to remain in jobs,” he reasoned.
Local contractor Keith ‘88’ Malone named tourism and education as his top picks.
“I love the youths and the way I look at it; the children are the future and if we don’t secure our future, then we might as well stop living. So I would say education would be on the top of my list. Tourism; because it is one of our main pillars of our economy, and our infrastructure because though we have been ravished by the hurricanes, there still needs to be a sense of normalcy throughout the country.”
Meanwhile, Director of Policy, Research and Statistics, Cherno Jallow also believed human and social services should be government’s main prerogative.
“Every sector, if you look at it, is important but it’s all about the people. I think that’s what the government needs to do and I hope they are concentrating on people. [Find out] what are the people’s most immediate concerns and laisse with the people and find out what their immediate issues are.”
When invited by BVI News to weigh in on the issue, a security guard said politicians should seek divine guidance on what the priority areas should be.
“They should pray and ask God for direction; not me. Let God lead the BVI.”
“Jobs, Jobs, Jobs should be their main priority right now. Getting people back into making money and then they can care for themselves and families. After that, they can do what they want,” said an unemployed resident from West End.
Other residents said government’s consultation with members of the public was a façade.
A taxi operator who preferred to remain unknown told BVI News: “It ain’t make no sense saying what priorities should be. The government done make the plan. They ain’t going to listen to us.”
The six priority areas in government’s proposed plan are business and economy ($262.9M), infrastructure ($216M), human and social services ($136.4M), natural resources and climate change ($25.9M), governance ($79.6M), and pride and cultural identity ($2M).
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