I wanted to briefly update you on Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act following its approval in the House of Assembly on 27 March.
I have today signed the Bill assenting to it in Her Majesty’s name and on Her Majesty’s behalf. This is a significant step forward for the recovery of the Territory. With the passing of the legislation comes the start of the process to agree the terms of the UK loan guarantee. This will involve negotiations with potential lenders, discussion with UK treasury officials and ultimately the approval of the UK Parliament. The Premier has confirmed that the appointment of the most senior staff to the Agency and the procurement regulations Cabinet will approve, will be free from political influence in order to safeguard independence.
The UK has already contributed significantly to the BVI’s recovery in both meeting immediate humanitarian and security needs and in substantial support to repair key infrastructure such as electricity, waste management, water, housing, health, policing, fire services, and the prison. The UK loan guarantee provides the next stage of UK support for the long term recovery.
The Virgin Island’s establishment of the Recovery and Development Agency should be applauded as it not only follows international best practices, it proves to the world that BVI is leading the recovery efforts with a clear set of accountability and good governance standards as a guide. And we must now make sure that the practicalities of setting up the Agency are achieved in a timely manner so that we can move swiftly towards a Stronger… smarter, greener, better BVI.