BVICCHA’s Chair Peeved; Prospect Reef Remains Abandoned By Gov’t

Esther Durand, Journalist
January 13, 2022 3:51 pm AST
Esther Durand, Journalist | January 13, 2022 3:51 pm AST
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(Photo Credit: Clifton Skleton/BVI Platinum News)
No Image Found
(Photo Credit: Clifton Skleton/BVI Platinum News)

Chairperson of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA), Mrs. Shaina Smith-Archer appeared peeved that the state-owned Prospect Reef Resort continues to remain in a state of abandonment following the 2017 hurricanes, which destroyed the once functioning facility.

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She took to social media to voice her displeasure.

“Last week I went by TAG and looked across the street and felt like someone punched me in the gut. I am puzzled as to why our government is allowing prime real estate to decay and rot. Of late I am unconvinced that as a country we are serious about our economic recovery and growth and being in the tourism business,” she said.

She continued: “How many developers have put in bids over the last ten years to turn this into something even greater than I remember as a child and enhance our tourism experience. And if you can't recognise what I am speaking about from the photos, it is the Prospect Reef Resort.”

Smith-Archer lamented that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the neighbouring Caribbean islands have not stopped upping their tourism product.

“They have negotiated new airlift service and new development agreements for expansion of guest accommodation. We have to learn how to chew gum and walk. I am not sure what we are waiting on here, but since this belongs to the people because it was purchased with tax dollars, we'd like an update please. Thank you!” she added.

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Background

Despite the management board being given the green light to serve, Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie said as of August, the board had not been officially appointed due to legal ‘things’ that had to be worked out.

Back in May 2021, Cabinet was held at the Financial Services Commission's Conference Room, where it was agreed that Mrs. Tamara Maduro would serve as the Chairman, Mrs. Kenisha Sprauve as the Director, Permanent Secretary in the Premier's Office or Representative as an ex-officio member and the Financial Secretary or Representative as another ex-officio member.

Cabinet had also agreed that Mr. Nathaniel Isaac would serve as the Executive Director and Managing Director, and Ms. Trisha Evans as a Director.

At that time, the post-Cabinet meeting statement said the Premier's Office would instruct the Attorney General's Chambers to draft the Instruments of Appointment for signature.

This new Prospect Reef Management Company Board was expected to serve for a period of two years, with effect from June 1, 2021.

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The statement at the time said that the decision was made in accordance with section 5(2) of the Prospect Reef Resort Management Act, 2005.

Since the 2017 hurricanes battered the territory, the resort has been in a state of disrepair and was never renovated.

The Government of the British Virgin Islands purchased the property and had major plans to redevelop it. The previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration had inked an agreement for some $90 million with ICA (BVI) Group Corp in July 2017 to do just that, but that deal never materialized.

This current regime is now seeking new investors for the facility.

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