Voting is a fundamental fundamental right of any citizen that enables them to choose the leaders of tomorrow. Many people do not vote thinking one vote will not make a change, but as a matter of fact, it does. It is important to know how to fill in and turn in your ballot paper to ensure that your vote counts. In this new system, you must darkly shade in the circle next to the candidates name of your choice ensuring that no marks are made outside the circle. Please read the full instructions below. Vote #TeamVIP #Alltheway on Feburary 25th
Team VIP has launched our events calendar on the countdown to election day. My official launch date is set for Sunday 10th of February with a Motorcade starting from the Ferry dock to the North Sound Basketball Court. We hope to see you at one our events!
My first week at my office has been an amazing one. Just minutes after opening on Monday morning I had my first visitor, a young man with a passion for fishing, such great ideas.
This trend continued on Tuesday, and I was so happy to able to assist persons with various challenges.
Wednesday was a packed day, apart from preparing for the great historical debate, I travelled over to Tortola to assist Sister Islands persons with their Housing Recovery applications. So good to see JVD residents and VG getting the much needed assistance.
Thursday was back at the office all day, the visit from the group of young entrepreneurs was the highlight of the day, such ideas, energy and enthusiasm. District 9, it’s transformation time!
Friday, I took some time out to visit Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary School and and attended the Honor Roll ceremony and spent some time with the students on the garden project. I was most impressed that they could explain composting so eloquently to me.
It is safe to say, the future of District 9 is looking mighty fine.
Apart from the separation of cargo and passengers at the St. Thomas Bay Jetty, the Lee Road is probably one of the most talked about issues on Virgin Gorda. Visitors to our shores by ferry, wishing to visit one of the BVI landmarks attractions, the Baths, must not only endure the eyesore of the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, but also the trial of the Lee Road.
Conscientious tour and taxi operators have attempted to circumvent this problem by taking alternative routes to the Baths, needless to say, this is not a sustainable approach to the issue at hand. Many businesses and residencies lay along this route and this should never be overlooked. Historically, a large portion of the Valley demarcated by the Lee Road and the sea shore was pond area, from Dixies in the North to Rock Café in the south.
Reclamation of the pond area began with Rockefelar in the late 60s, followed by Anderson Flax in the 70s and later on, by the late Edwin George and others in the 2000s. As a child growing up on Virgin Gorda, I remember many days when the road in front of Fischers Cove was inundated with water, making it very difficult to traverse. The recent reclamations have only exacerbated the problem. The increase in traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, patronizing businesses and tourist attractions on the southern side of the island has raised concerns among the general public.
Not only is the Lee Road uncomfortable, it is also deemed unsafe and dangerous. Pot holes the size of small swimming pools, poor lighting, lack of side-walks and poor drainage also characterize this road. The Government, in an effort to appease residents, spends thousands of dollars doing remedial works on the Lee Road, the last of which took place in October of 2018. The usual November rains have since returned the Lee Road to a state even worse than has been seen in recent times. So where do we go from here?
We should definitely not continue putting plaster on this sore. From the many conversations I have heard and blogs I have seen on social media concerning this issue, I would strongly suggest a Town meeting be called to get the ideas of the public. All too often, we depend solely on the advice of “Experts” and totally ignore the common man. Let us come together as a community and address this vexing issue. Once the road is addressed we should then come back together as a community and figure out how to make the entire road from St. Thomas Bay to the Baths a lot more attractive. I have heard many excellent ideas already.
Sometimes I wonder what our ancestors would say if they could see the mistakes we have made and the opportunities we seem to ignore. We are always complaining about losing our lands, yet whenever there is an opportunity to reacquire lands, we hesitate and come up with poor excuses.
The Toad Hall property, located next to the Baths National Park, has been up for sale for some time now. This property should be acquired by the Government immediately and the Baths National Park expanded. Where is the money to come from for the purchase? I have seen the draft of an excellent proposal for financing this acquisition, with a payback period of under five years. I believe that working together, we have the brain power, know-how, and creativity to solve many of the complex challenges facing us today. The expansion and development of the Baths National Park is one of the many avenues that can be used to empower our people.
I would further like to see bathrooms at more of our beaches, this would awaken the spirit of our entrepreneurs to get involved in business ventures. We must also make sure we educate our entrepreneurs in smart and sustainable business practices. I know HLSCC would be more than ready and happy to facilitate this. Hurricane Irma has reminded us of the importance of land ownership, we have to come together and help persons to get clear titles to lands that they occupy. I know this is possible as I have worked very closely with Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE in granting land titles to hundreds of persons on Anegada, North Sound and the Valley. These activities do not comparatively cost much money, but their impacts are very significant.
I am not a pessimist, but I am going to assume the worst possible scenario when it comes to our finances. It is for this reason I will be proposing creative ways we can work together to come up with solutions to many of our vexing issues. This is our recovery, and it must be primarily by us, and totally for us. The BVI is the sailing capital of the world, I think it is time for us to revisit the issue of water rights. If this matter is working against us and not for us, then maybe something needs to change. We will need to have a serious discussion on this. For the BVI to rebuild its infrastructure, the money has to come from somewhere but we should not limit ourselves to just loan funding alone. Let us get our collective minds together, let us challenge our people to think outside the box. I firmly believe that many of the solutions that we need to move this country forward lie not inside the House but outside the box. We have to listen to the people.
Elections in the BVI is now eminent. Many persons are saying that we are not ready, while other are calling for elections now. The current challenges facing the Government, allegations of corruption, the slow pace of recovery, and the poor state of the economy all contribute to confusion of when elections should really be held. Normally, after the death of a sitting Member of the House of Assembly a by-election is held. There was only one case in recent history, where this was not the case; the case of the late Robinson Hubert O’Neal. Hon. O’Neal died during an election year and so a by-election was replaced by a general election six months later.
The debate over whether or not to have a by-election after the sad passing of Hon. Delores Christopher was settled by Governor Jaspert. A deadline of no later than April 16th , 2019 was announced by the Governor on Thursday 15th November 2018. This should not be seen as an arbitrary date at all. The BVI which has had to depend almost entirely on its International Business operations for its survival since the passages of hurricanes Irma and Maria are always under attack from the international community. The Territory was notified some months ago to pass “substance Laws” or risk being placed on the EU Blacklist. The deadline for passing the laws is 31st December 2018.
For those of you who are familiar with the procedure for passing laws, it is no small feat to pass laws in a short period of time as they require three readings in the House of Assembly. In the best of time, a law can receive its three readings in one Sitting, but only in the best of times. If for some reason the “substance Laws” are not passed by 31st December 2018, the BVI may once again find itself on the EU Blacklist. Not only will this significantly affect our international business operations and revenue, it will also negatively impact our recovery borrowing ability and interest rates. The bottom line is, this current Government, for the sake of the future of this country needs to stay together and work together and pass the necessary laws by 31st December 2018 to avoid the BVI being placed on the EU Blacklist.
If achieved, this should be greeted with a resounding round of applause. As no District should be unrepresented for too long, the people should then be given a fair time to hear the views of all prospective candidates and then choose who they fell will best represent the interest of the people and residents of the BVI. Three months seems fair to me, hence, three months after the deadline of 31st December 2018 puts us at the end of March 2019. If you are eligible to vote please register and exercise your democratic right.