Mistakes Will Be Made; Recovery Plan Not Perfect—Premier

Melissa Edwards, Senior Journalist | January 10, 2018 5:11 am MST
Photo Credit: Sherine Williams/BVI Platinum News
The proposed $721M five-year Recovery and Development Plan is not perfect, and the input from the public, including stakeholders from various sectors, will help to shape the final document. This is according to Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith.

Last evening, January 9, in a brief video address to residents, Premier Smith said that he wants residents to understand that the proposed plan contains starting points to help form the final plan.

“As we go through this exercise, I encourage you to go through the consultation document, and come prepared to engage with me, my government and with senior members of the public service to discuss your points and ideas. Let us come with one mission to rebuild and restore the Virgin Islands together," he stated.

Premier Smith said, “Let me also be clear that every single idea offered may not be included in the final document. But, I also want to be clear to you the public, as well as you the members of the public service that created the document, that we have starting points for discussions.”

He stressed that the proposed plan is not perfect.

“The document is not perfect, but at the end of this consultation I intend that the document that government approves for the rebuilding will be a better document, because it includes your ideas, your suggestions and understanding on how we should rebuild our Territory together.”

His comments come as the government commences consultations this morning with stakeholders over a three-day period.

Government in a press release mentioned consultations with stakeholders, but no mention was made of when public meetings will be held with the wider community.

Premier Smith in the video message said that the next few weeks and months will be the most critical time in the Territory’s history.

“As I said before, the days ahead are uncertain. I expect that we will make mistakes. We may not agree on all matters and I imagine that we will have a spirited discussion on how we will move ahead. Undoubtedly, this is the most significant exercise we will undergo in the generation."

Premier Smith continued, “However, what is certain is that we must go through this exercise and we must look at the opportunity before us to reshape the Virgin Islands together. As your Premier, I ask you join together in putting our Territory first, above self, and even above party politics.”

The government has been accused of providing little time for residents to scrutinize the document.

The Recovery and Development document is available on www.bvi.gov.vg and www.bvirecovery.vg. It is also available in hard copy at various public places such as gas stations, supermarkets, banks and hardware stores.

The first meetings with stakeholders are scheduled for 10:00 am this morning with Environmentalists, Fishermen, Farmers, Agriculturalists, Horticulturalists, and Landscapers at the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports Conference Room; and with public officers at 1:00 pm at the Breezeway, Central Administration Complex.
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