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Anegada, VG to get special ‘Development Fund’

…as Minister announces energy independence by 2025
Anegada, VG to get special ‘Development Fund.’ Photo: VINO/File
District 9 Representative and newly elected Minister for Natural Resources Labour and Immigration, Honourable, Vincent O. Wheatley, during his maiden address to the VI’s House of Assembly. Photo: Team of Reporters
District 9 Representative and newly elected Minister for Natural Resources Labour and Immigration, Honourable, Vincent O. Wheatley, during his maiden address to the VI’s House of Assembly. Photo: Team of Reporters
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Ninth District, namely the sister islands of Virgin Gorda and Anegada, in the Virgin Islands (VI) are each earmarked for accelerated recovery and development, in addition to becoming 'energy independent' by 2025, with the implementation of the 9th District Development Fund.

This, according to District Representative and newly elected Minister for Natural Resources Labour and Immigration, Honourable, Vincent O. Wheatley, in his maiden address to the VI’s House of Assembly (HoA), on Monday March, 12, 2019, held at the Multi Purpose Sports Complex, in Road Town, Tortola.

According to Hon Wheatley, the administration, specifically the Ministry under his portfolio has a number of initiatives it intends on pursuing which will, “undoubtedly require heavy capital investment, therefore I will be looking into the establishment of the Ninth District Development Fund.”

Tourism Mecca

He told members of the HoA, “…details of this fund will be provided for at a later date.”

Describing D9 as “arguable” the mecca of VI’s of tourism, Hon Wheatley did use the occasion to provide some insight into the initiatives being proposed under the newly elected Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government.

On the energy front, Hon Wheatley surmised, that “this Territory, like most other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in this region and further afield, face some unique and vexing challenges, one being that of high fuel prices which translates to a higher cost of living for everyone.”

Acknowledging the conundrum as a “huge task”, Hon Wheatley affirmed, “I also recognise that it is not insurmountable.”

Energy Independent

He suggested Anegada, as perfect to get its energy independence pilot programme going, as it already has a closed electrical grid along with an adequate supply of flat land.

The initiative he said, will be done in conjunction with other relevant Ministries and agencies such as the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC).

Once implemented in Anegada, the technology and infrastructure will also be put in place on Virgin Gorda, with the goal of the two islands being, “energy independent by 2025, no more diesel…this may seem a bit ambitious but where there is a will, there is a way.”

Land Bank

Expanding more on his plans for D9, Hon Wheatley spoke to the land related matters and announced that he and his team will immediately begin “finalizing outstanding land issues and moving speedily on the creation of a Land Bank that we campaigned on.”

He did caution, while some of “these issues are relatively straight forward, there are some that are of a more intricate nature that will take a bit more time….rest assured that these matters will be addressed and finalized.”

Hon Wheatley used the occasion to announce that “it is hoped that as early as next month, we will begin granting land titles to the people of Anegada.”

According to the Minister “the issue of land title for our people is of great importance to this government.”

Banking Services

Committing to restoring banking services in short order to Virgin Gorda, Hon Wheatley observed that for reasons known and unknown, the banks operating on the sister island of Virgin Gorda have all ceased operations…this is a very vexing and frustrating issue for the people of the ninth district.”

He also used his inaugural address to the HoA, to lobby for better transportation services between the main sister islands—not just to and from Tortola but also between Anegada and Virgin Gorda.

According to the District Nine Representative, improved access will also improve delivery of government services and economic development especially in the Tourism sector.

 

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