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‘It was expedient to move quickly!’ – Hon Mark H. Vanterpool

-Minister said there was no time to follow tender procedures for cruise port project as cruise lines were threatening to leave
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool said that while public tendering is preferred for the cruise pier project, it was not expedient to go that route given the gravity of the prospect of losing cruise lines because of lack of proper facilities. Photo: VINO/File
“We have great respect for audits as long as something good comes out of it,” Hon Mark H. Vanterpool said. Photo: VINO/File
“We have great respect for audits as long as something good comes out of it,” Hon Mark H. Vanterpool said. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool said that while public tendering was preferred for the cruise pier project, it was not expedient to go that route given the gravity of the prospect of losing cruise lines because of lack of proper facilities.

The Minister was speaking today July 22, 2014 in the House of Assembly during the Eighth Sitting of the Third Session of the Second House of Assembly. He was debating the Auditor General's report on the cruise pier project which was laid today on the Table of the House of Assembly by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith.

He is contending that had the Auditor General seen some of the available documentation, the Auditor General’s report on the cruise pier project might have been different.

It was last year that the Virgin Islands Auditor General Ms. Sonia M. Webster conducted her own investigations of the Ports Development Project.

The Auditor General's Report on the Ports Development Project unearthed corruption, conflict of interest, disregard for the laws of the Virgin Islands, unfair practices, undue influence in favour of one developer, disregard for the established tendering process and that no one was looking out for the interest of the people and taxpayers of the Virgin Islands, putting the people at a disadvantage.

“We have great respect for audits as long as something good comes out of it,” Hon Vanterpool said.

“However going through the reports one has to clear up any issues raised. What I have observed is that most of the issues raised are not incorrect but there was some lack of information. I want to point out some of these issues and make sure they are clear on it,” said Minister Vanterpool.

“I go back to a Cabinet Paper by the previous Government on September 1, 2008. I read the decision by the Cabinet….It’s a contract for cruise ship extension memo 2008,” he said.

“I am simply responding to the AG statement that approval for works was not approved by Cabinet,” he said.

“I want to put on the record that this project has been authorized by Cabinet and therefore we can move on with it,” he said.

“Even the previous Government in one of these Cabinet papers suggested that the original plans for the project [were not sufficient],” he said, noting that the cruise ship companies being recommended needed bigger facilities than the original sum of $12 million, as envisaged by the previous Government, could have provided.

The Minister said that the $12 million was not a good deal since for the terms being offered Government could have borrowed that money from any commercial bank.

Hon Vanterpool said that the previous project did not envisage the strengthening or the widening of the dock in order to cater to larger, heavier ships.

He said that in the context of what was happening it was better not to go out to tender. “The Government was advised that if they did not do something to accommodate the bigger ships, [the cruise industry would have been in trouble],” he said.

Hon Vanterpool said that the Virgin Islands was on the brink of losing the cruise ships, hence the need to act swiftly. “We could not wait,” he said. “I have no qualms about moving quickly to save the cruise industry,” he said, saying it was not expedient to wait.

20 Responses to “‘It was expedient to move quickly!’ – Hon Mark H. Vanterpool”

  • fool (22/07/2014, 16:01) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    mark you are not fooling no one but your self
  • Tiro (22/07/2014, 16:19) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    glossing over the irregularities.
  • Yes (22/07/2014, 16:27) Like (6) Dislike (11) Reply
    Mark they don't like facts. Once it is not what they want to hear they will call it lies etc. etc. We know the drill.
    • shaw (23/07/2014, 00:01) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
      LOL- don't you have it the other way around? They have the facts but Mark wants to re-write history and the audit findings. He even justifies illegal behaviors and calls them legal. The facts are in the report based on objective research. He is in defensive mode and back-peddling. He is not justified and the end does not justify the means.
  • facts (22/07/2014, 17:24) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Still no one in jail
  • Waite a minute (22/07/2014, 20:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do you need a heavy dock to hold up a ship? Who this man talking to fool? I was under the learning that all ships float on water. Mr minister you think you teaching Sunday school still?
    • Concerned (23/07/2014, 07:05) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are so right - ships do float on water- so the weight of the ship and the force of the wind push against the dock. Don't try to play engineer, the Minister is correct.
    • Billfargo (23/07/2014, 09:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

      As far as I understand; I think that the Cruise Ship requested updated facilities?
  • pete (22/07/2014, 23:42) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    “We have great respect for audits as long as something good comes out of it,” (RE: AS LONG AS IT GOES OUR WAY AND WE ARE NOT FOUND OUT OR QUESTIONED).
    "... most of the issues raised are not incorrect but there was some lack of information". (SO, MORE INFORMATION WILL MAKE THE ILLEGAL ISSUES ACCEPTABLE? ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR IS OK IF THE CIRCUMSTANCES WARRANT IT?)

    Both statements are pathetic. Who controls paradise, who is in the driver's seat? the cruise ships or the BVI? Why are we scrambling to please this industry who plays the game so well that unique destinations give it all away? We needed to play hardball to the industry bluff. By the time the harbourside is developed PROPERLY, they will be sniffing around. Do you think they want to be left out? Groveling to the ship industry makes us look weak and desperate. The minister is in over his head. And we eventually will kill the golden goose all because of lack of sophistication, fear and greed. Even though you love the sound of your own voice, Mr. minister, you can not talk your way out of this.
  • Hmmmmm (23/07/2014, 07:36) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do the right thing, not the expedient thing.
  • Truth (23/07/2014, 08:00) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    If t,Ruth be told this cruise pier matter needs to be looked into very carefully. Someone must take the responsibility and accept wrong doing. This is too blatant and someone must pay. This looks like a criminal matter.
  • Red eye rooster (23/07/2014, 09:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. Vanterpool starting the cruise pier project was so urgent, that you had to by protocols. You think the people of the BVI are stupid? We are not Mark, please come clean. When I see you in the HOA, your body language speaks for you. Even you don't believe the sH$4t you are talking. You are the consummate deceiver . You are not fit to represent this great country.
    • dog (23/07/2014, 18:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      this from the days of fronting Raffles development at Lambert. He has been a self-interested player for decades. He never should have gotten elected.
  • Billfargo (23/07/2014, 09:49) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply

    The Truth always causes offense! Always remember that a man can do as much as he wants to do but, Time will not allow him to do it as long as he would like to do it, and that is all I have to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • pay day (23/07/2014, 10:51) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mark should resign
  • mother hen (23/07/2014, 13:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    the PAC and AG reports mandates that the UK takes over the BVI
    • Shane (23/07/2014, 14:26) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Mother Hen...Trust me..you don't want that to happen. believe you me. Don't advocate that. That would take us backwards into the days of slavery/servitude.
  • dog (23/07/2014, 18:04) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    we need objective guidance, not squabbling children. two wrongs don't make a right pitting violations of both parties against each other. I am happy about the financial protocol to oversee poor spending and loans. It was necessary. Now we need a referee on the play ground. Both parties have done totally wrong things, but it has to stop somewhere. Cruiseship project has the biggest potential for destruction if not done correctly because it is not reversible. It is forever!
  • Stop It (24/07/2014, 11:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this kind of internal corruption is exactly what will bring the BVI to its knees. It needs to be stopped as fast as possible.


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