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‘We are recovering’

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While noting that economic recovery is now taking place on Virgin Gorda, political representative of the island Dr Hubert O’Neal urged persons in the villa rental business to better position themselves for money-making opportunities such as sailing regattas.

He noted that, during the recent regatta hosted by YCCS for four days on Virgin Gorda, there weren’t enough villas for persons in attendance.

“I am sure you saw the magnificent yachts; they were competing just a few weeks ago. We always welcome that type of event because it brings money and opportunity to us here on Virgin Gorda.”

“There wasn’t even enough villa rental spaces available during that regatta. This is gonna be an ongoing event each year. So I want to encourage persons who are in the villa rental business to get yourself in line to reap the rewards of events such as those,” Dr O’Neal said while he expressed hope that the island of Virgin Gorda will again be booming with tourism activities later this year.

He noted that the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) recently reopened on the island after a $3-million upgrade.

Dr O’Neal added that two other properties that were closed recently – Biras Creek Resort and Little Dix Bay Resort – are also on target to reopen by December.

“Biras Creek is also coming back and it seems like they are gearing up to get the hotel renovated and reopened around the same time – around November/December of this year. As you know, there were some legal issues concerning that property, but those issues are behind us now, and the original owners of that property – the Howard family – have retaken the control of that, and they are now getting a management team together to get that resort reopened,” Dr O’Neal further explained.

“Little Dix Bay redevelopment is going on; it’s going on at a quickened pace now, and it is slated to be completed and reopened by November of this year. I know that comes as good news for us on Virgin Gorda because Little Dix Bay has been for over 50 years the prime employer of persons here, and it was our livelihood. So we look forward most urgently for the opening of Little Dix Bay slated to be in November. I did pay a visit to the project over there [last month]. I toured the whole project with the project director, and he assured me that things are on schedule. It’s on track, and I expect that Little Dix Bay will open its doors as promised in November.”

Dr Hubert O'Neal

Dr Hubert O’Neal

The reopening of resorts, Dr O’Neal noted, are good for Virgin Gorda.

“All this is good for us because it means a return of employment opportunities for us here on Virgin Gorda,” he told residents, adding that the closure of the properties had dealt a major blow to the island’s economy.

“It (2016) was a very difficult year for us here on Virgin Gorda… I think we are now re-emerging out of that. We are recovering and this year 2017 to me looks like a much better year for us on Virgin Gorda,” Dr O’Neal said.

While noting that roughly 400 people lost their jobs when the three aforementioned properties closed for rehabilitation, Dr O’Neal said the jobs are returning.

“We’ve managed to get most of those workers re-positioned in jobs whether on Tortola or over here on Virgin Gorda. Fortunately, we had development going on still at Oil Nut Bay at Necker Island and Mosquito Island. So they absorbed quite a number of the workers – so did Bitter End… We had a very difficult year on Virgin Gorda, and needless to say we have a number of our people who are still looking for work even now,” Dr O’Neal further told his constituents this month.

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