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State of the Market

PREMIER HONOURABLE RALPH T. O’NEAL, OBE’s recent 90 day address to the Territory underlines common issues pertinent to both overseas investment and local planning of health, infrastructure and economic growth.  Whilst encouraged, offshore investments are being processed with a fine comb to detangle inconsistencies of our recent government’s transition. The Premier highlights that investment, prevalent across seemingly remote beautiful islands must follow strict procedure.  Mr O’Neal reflects:  “My dear people, most of these agreements have run into trouble.”  For example, “There is a dispute between the developer and the owners of Oil Nut Bay property and one does not know when that will be settled.”  Expectedly, frustration is on the rise.

Government liaisons with resort planners in West End are still in conflict.  “The Smugglers Cove Agreement provides for the Government to install water lines from where they currently terminate at Long Bay to Smugglers Cove and then the project would begin.  I understand that when the estimates were made for the installation of this water line, the cost was four million dollars.”  But according to the Premier,  “this money was not provided and the work could not be done,” and the developer requires this installation to push forward.  

Therefore the question is: How does the government plan to encourage investment when structural requirements cannot be met?  Will this ultimately affect long-term tourism goals?  Who will pay?  The current government pledges to address these issues and has recently appropriated $36,290,100, “to pay off some of the debts that of the Tourist Board and other departments of Government and so return some order in the financial situation of the Territory,” the Premier reported.

Government efforts are also concentrating on landowners.  “The road is being cut from Leverick Bay Hill to Blunder Bay Hill in North Sound, Virgin Gorda and this will give the persons who have been allocated house plots in the area access to their plots so that they could begin building,” said the Premier.  “In the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour discussions have been held with the people of Anegada and the Anegada Lands Committee has been re-formed and recommendations will be coming to Cabinet for the allocation of plots to the Anegadians.  The road is being cut from Leverick Bay Hill to Blunder Bay Hill in North Sound, Virgin Gorda and this will give the persons who have been allocated house plots in the area access to their plots so that they could begin building.  At the same time an area at Coppermine in the Valley, Virgin Gorda is being surveyed for house plots”.

Local realty developers too are striving to meet the increasing demand for housing and property development.  Developers and local companies, private landowners, and realtors are all working to accommodate as much of the modern needs on Tortola as possible, such as parking and commercial rental space.  

Clearly, offshore investments pouring into the BVI are falling under the administration nightmares of a shift in power.  But the government pledges to work diligently on the the tasks ahead when and work with the prior government’s agreements and their own commitments to the future.

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