Finally! Temporary Solution To W/E Port Crisis

BVI Platinum News
July 12, 2018 8:48 am AST
Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
In what appears to have been a last minute rush following mounting criticisms, government has found a temporary solution to the West End Ferry Terminal crisis at Sopher's Hole.

When BVI Platinum News visited the area yesterday, July 11, a 20-foot container, which is expected to house Customs, was placed at the location. The makeshift tent operation was still in operation.

This comes a day after Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith promised that a facility will be on site by yesterday.

Premier Smith, who made the comment in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, July 10, also said that it will be operational by mid-next week.

Dr. Smith’s promise and the placement of the container also come two weeks after Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works, said that he could not provide a date as to when the port facility will be operational.

Minister Vanterpool had indicated on June 28 in the House of Assembly that the facility which they brought in would not be able to withstand the wind during this hurricane season.

The issue was raised once again on Tuesday by Opposition Leader and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie, who said that taxi men and the business community continue to suffer as ferries from St. Thomas and other places outside the BVI are unable to resume operations.

“I am asking the Premier when he stands up, to tell the people of this Territory that starting now, he will give the instructions to the Ministry of Communications and Works to open that port next week and clear the road,” Hon. Fahie said in the House of Assembly.

In response, Premier Smith said, “I will say to him, as I understand it, tomorrow [Wednesday] there will be a facility being provided at West End to improve the situation at the port and it will be operational by mid-week, certainly next week.”

Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
Government came in for criticisms over its lackluster approach to address the issue at West End, where Customs and other staff are forced to work under inhumane conditions under a makeshift tent.

Hon. Fahie has been pushing and calling on government to find a temporary solution, and has even gone as far as to link officials with an individual, who was willing to provide, free of cost, a fully retrofitted trailer. Government would only have to pay for shipping.

In the House of Assembly, Premier Smith also agreed that Hon. Fahie had made suggestions to address the issue.
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