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Press Release From Independent Source

We must continually improve infrastructure says MCW Minister

The need to continually improve air, land and sea infrastructure was a key message expressed by the Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark Vanterpool during a Taxi and Livery Operators meeting held last night at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park. (Credit/GIS Ronielle Frazer)
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The need to continually improve air, land and sea infrastructure was a key message expressed by the Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark Vanterpool during a Taxi and Livery Operators meeting held last night at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park.

“Cruise ship calls to our ports are projected to be reduced by 16 for the 2012-2013 cruise season,” Minister Vanterpool revealed. He cited that a number of cruise lines including Costa, Oceania, Princess, and Sea Dream may be reducing the number of cruise calls to the Territory. “Costa projects a reduction in their calls from 26 to 21, Oceania from 20 to two, and Princess from 12 to zero and P and O from 16 to five.

The need to continually improve air, land and sea infrastructure was a key message expressed by the Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark Vanterpool during a Taxi and Livery Operators meeting held last night at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park.

“Projections indicate that a major reason for this downturn is that we must extend our cruise ship dock to facilitate the luxury liners that prefer to call on destinations such as ours,” Minister Vanterpool stated.

Minister Vanterpool assured the gathering that Government is in discussions with three groups entertaining proposals for the development of the cruise pier and land side. One of these proposals will be moved to Cabinet shortly with a view to have the pier lengthened and widened by December 2012 with landside developments being pursued over the next three years.”

“We cannot rest on our laurels we must continuously improve key areas such as our infrastructure which includes our air, land and sea transportation services and also continue to develop our land-based cultural and historical attractions which will make the visitor experience more enriching as we strive to become a more attractive cruise destination and increase cruise ship calls to our ports,” the minister affirmed.

Minister Vanterpool expressed that he thought it very important to paint the picture of what is happening in the cruise industry before reporting on the concerns of the taxi and livery professionals because of the important role they perform in delivering our tourism product as well as meeting the transportation needs of our local residents.

In reporting on policy changes the minister said. “I have exercised my decision-making authority as Minister for Communications and works after informing Cabinet, to have a second plate issued to current holders of taxi licenses. The Department of Motor Vehicles have been informed and is ready to facilitate this process,” Minister Vanterpool said.

My ministry will be working closely with the Tourist Board to institute a taxi dispatch system at all ports of entry and when work on the Road Town Jetty will begin at the end of the month were among the announcements made.

In conclusion the Minister Vanterpool expressed appreciation to the Taxi and Livery Operators. “I want to assure you that as Minister I fully understand the challenges of the taxi and livery industry. I also understand the critical role that you as operators must play to not only secure your own livelihoods but to also promote the BVI as an attractive destination. I therefore thank you for all that you have been doing thus far and ask you for your continued support in raising the bar of service excellence so that we can all be proud to call the Virgin Islands our home.”

Also in attendance were Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Honourable Kedrick Pickering, At Large Representative, Honourable Archie Christian and Sixth District Representative, Honourable Alvera Maduro Caines.

The Ministry of Communications and Works is committed to providing efficient taxi and livery services in compliance with the road traffic legislation of the Territory.

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