Development Agreement Signed With JOMA Properties

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(PLTM) - Remarks by Premier of the Virgin Islands Hon. Natalio D. Wheatley 25 March, 2024 Development Agreement Signing JOMA (Properties) Ltd

A pleasant good day to each and every one.

I am very thrilled to be here this morning for the signing of this development agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and JOMA Properties Ltd.

JOMA is a BVI company that has been operating in the Virgin Islands since 1937. JOMA has a very diversified portfolio that includes office buildings, warehouse complexes and marina facilities here in Tortola.

JOMA deserves a special round of applause, because its originators, owners, shareholders, staff and partners have been investing in the BVI for just short of 100 years. Of course, the name “JOMA” is a blend of the names of its founders – the late Joseph R. O’Neal and his wife, Marie. Joseph and Marie established a range of businesses including hardware and construction materials, fuel distribution, auto-dealerships, rock crushing, shipping and real estate.

Joseph and Marie O’Neal’s legacy of investing in the BVI economy is very much alive today in JOMA.

Recently, JOMA completed its signature building at the entrance to Port Purcell by the Quomar Roundabout. The agreement that will be signed this morning is with respect to a new-build 65-room boutique hotel, complete with restaurant, bar, retail shop, fitness centre and more, as well as an upgrade of the marina facilities in the Port Purcell area.

This is a significant investment by JOMA, and it illustrates what we have been saying all along: the BVI is pregnant with opportunities, and there are investors who have a lot of confidence in the BVI economy and our prospects for economic growth. I wish to thank JOMA for the confidence they are showing in the country and the economy by choosing to invest in these major development projects at this time.

JOMA’s renderings and development plans are very impressive, and when completed, the new facilities will transform the area which presently consists of warehouse type structures.

This kind of development presents a host of benefits for the BVI. They, of course, transform the aesthetics of the area where they are built. The create jobs during the construction phase – and JOMA has committed to, as much as possible, using local contractors and subcontractors and local labour. These developments create opportunities to support business development and entrepreneurship. They will create job opportunities when the facilities are completed and opened for business.

Hotels and marinas contribute to attracting visitors to the BVI and ensuring they have an enjoyable and quality experience – so that they will return and they will tell their friends about our wonderful tourism offerings in the BVI.

May I point out as well that where my Government has committed to the expansion of the runway at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, one of the areas that we will have to focus on as a Territory is that of increasing the number of rooms on all our islands and on the water. The runway expansion will happen, and it will increase the demand for accommodation. At the media conference on last Friday, persons would recall, I elaborated a bit on our plans for expanding our array of tourism products and diversifying our industry. The aim is to increase our business in the areas that we have traditionally been engaged and where we have been doing very well, but also to develop our profile as a destination for meetings, conferences, exhibitions, live music events and music festivals, among others.

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The early bird catches the worm. You have to be prepared for the moment when opportunity comes passing by. And I think the team at JOMA, in their wisdom and with their acumen for business and development, are among those business leaders among us who see the opportunities that are shaping up ahead and they are lining up their ducks for success.

Now is the time for persons who have property and resources to follow the lead being set by JOMA and others, so that you are ready and in position for the opportunities that are in the making.

Consistent with the agreement that we are signing, I wish to assure JOMA and all related interests of the Government’s commitment to doing our part to ensure this project is a success. I extend congratulations to JOMA on this milestone in the company’s history and I look forward to seeing the completion of the amazing facilities that are planned, and joining you for the opening of the hotel and marina.

Congratulations and best wishes.

I thank you.

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