Stakeholders and a industry partners from both public service and the private sector, tourism and hospitality, recently met to share ideas and discuss expanding the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport.
The meeting was chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Elvia Smith-Maduro, who presented a timeline on the previous attempts to make the airport bigger, outlining the various roadblocks along the way.
Under the direction of Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. Natalio Wheatley, the Ministry is discussing the process with stakeholders and various industry partners to ensure that the Terrence B. International Airport expansion can be done in a way that takes into account the needs of multiple interest groups.
Premier Wheatley thanked the Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Kye Rymer and his team for their efforts in planning and executing the visioning exercise as well as stressed the importance of investing in the Virgin Islands’ tourism product.
He said, “When we look to the expansion of our economy, we have to look towards tourism, and certainly this government and whenever I have the opportunity, I speak to the fact that we have to develop tourism and invest more in tourism.”
Rymer thanked the stakeholders and industry partners for attending the meeting and stated that his ministry is already well underway in contacting the relevant authorities that will be crucial in the expansion of the airport.
He said, “I know these conversations wouldn’t be the first for some of you. But after being given the mandate of extending the runway publicly, I thought it was important that we have this dialogue and engage the stakeholders on how to move forward with the airport expansion.
“Within the ministry, I want to acknowledge the Permanent Secretary as well and all the work that she has started doing in terms of this airport expansion. We have already engaged the Attorney General’s chambers and other stakeholders in terms of moving this project forward. But it’s time for us to get to the wider populace so that we can further these discussions.”
The Ministry of Communications and Works has to take into account that the continued development and maintenance of public infrastructure must be in line with international standards so that the new buildings meet the needs of everyone who used the airport.
At the time of writing no details are available on whether the BVI intends to make it possible for the airport to land bigger jets or handle more passengers, or whether more tourist beds would be needed to accommodate an increase in passenger traffic.
Source: BVI Ministry of Communications and Works Press Release.