Cruise Ship passengers in the BVI
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
In order for the local economy to get back on track, investors' confidence is one of the things that must be achieved and according to one legislator, the new Government has already been able to create that comfort zone for potential investors.
Speaking during the debate of the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Act, 2012 debate today, October 11, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister for Communications and Works said the National Democratic Party (NDP) came into office some 11 months ago, making efforts to renew and spur an economy that has been going through difficulties for whatever reason it might have been, whether local or regional.
"It's not an impossible task; it might be a difficult one, but not impossible and it wouldn't happen overnight, but we have to look at the trends and see what direction we are moving...Yes, the waters might be a little still now, but we are working in everywhere possible to stir it up the economy so our people can do better and have a better life in this economy."
He added, "And I am sure everyone is doing their part. And these plans, whether the cruise ship development, airport or other projects on the horizon...In all these areas, efforts are being made on a daily basis to ensure we get to a level we want to get to..."
Minister Vanterpool said there is no doubt that investors' confidence must be achieved and this, he believes, has already been done by the Government.
"The economy needs to get investors' confidence and that is what this Government, I believe, has done already. Investors' confidence is growing; it's there. People are going to look at bringing in investors into the Territory and an economy needs Government investors from a capital development and fiscal planning perspective; banks investment from what they should be doing as an institution allowed to operate in this Territory in terms of helping the economy along...."
Hon. Vanterpool, who is also the Representative for the Fourth District, pointed out that there are other areas that must be looked at to help boost the economy.
"Private sector investments, be it local or private sector investment, or regional or international private sector investments. All these four areas are important to help the economy of the Territory move forward..."
He noted that the Government is looking at all the areas.
"Government's investment; banks investment; the other area of the international investors coming in; and the fourth one, local savings that are there that we can tap into to get investments and operations moving to help the economy and the Territory...And that happens when we instill investors' confidence, whether local or overseas, where people are willing to take money off their savings or bring funds in to help to invest in the Territory; get construction going; get jobs moving and the Territory moving again. And I believe that we are moving in that direction...," the Minister argued.
Meanwhile, in relation to the cruise ship pier development, Minister Vanterpool said he was in full support of Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith halting the process.
"Even as the Minister who is responsible for the subject for the cruise pier, I was pleased that the Minister of Finance did what he did to ensure that we go in the right direction and make sure that internationally, regionally and elsewhere we are seen to be totally transparent and totally doing the right thing as we have agreed to do. Even though that we might have been moving in that direction prior to the protocols, it should have still fit into our Public Finance Management Act as we did..."
The Minister acknowledged that they might suffer due to the delay, but efforts are being made to mitigate those negative effects.
"Nothing is wrong in saying you are on the wrong track, stop and move on to the right track. And therefore I am pleased that we are doing that. We may suffer a little bit for a little time economically and financially and I know the Premier is very concerned about that. He speaks to me on a regular basis on how we are doing to try to mitigate the difficulties that may happen because of the cruise pier delay. But we will come to solutions; we will make efforts to try to ensure our economy comes to be a little bit more robust as we move along."
In relation to the cruise pier development project, on August 1, Government announced an end to the former process involving Tortola Port Partners (TPP), who had presented their plans to develop the cruise pier and land side, and announced plans to re-tender through an open bid process. The deadline for submission of proposals to develop the cruise pier and surrounding areas was August 28.
Other members that contributed to the debate of the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Act, 2012 today were Hon. Ronnie Skelton, Minister for Health and Social Development; Hon. Delores Christopher, Fifth District Representative; and responding was Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith.
The members of the House are currently in committee stage going through the proposed bill clause by clause.