Virgin Islands Platinum News, 10/10/14
About two days into his tenure, Mr. James Duddridge MP, the newly appointed United Kingdom Minister for the Overseas Territories told his staff to schedule a visit to the Virgin Islands. The visit materialized this week with the UK Minister spending two days (October 7-8) in the Territory where he held meetings with Government Ministers, senior civil servants and officials in the financial services and tourism industries.
"No Territory is exactly the same, but the BVI has tourism, has the financial services; it also is prosperous compared to other Overseas Territories," Mr. Duddridge stated.
The UK Minister departed the BVI on Wednesday evening for Montserrat, which is said gives some contrast to the Virgin Islands.
"I will also be visiting Montserrat as apart of this trip, which obviously has other challenges, some of which are shared, the fear of natural disasters. Hopefully I will be getting an idea of two elements, one here [the BVI] where things are going very well and an area that has been problematic, but on the up in Montserrat," Mr. Duddridge explained.
While in the BVI, the UK Minister visited the ongoing cruise pier development project which has attracted a number of criticisms and has been under the microscope of the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly. Governor John Duncan is to decide whether to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the allegations facing the project.
However, Mr. Duddridge stated that the project adds to the tourism offering of the Territory.
"[I have] spoken to the people who are doing the construction and had a good discussion about how that opportunity came about and I think the future is very bright for tourism in the area, but particularly on the cruise ship with the expanded area, deeper water access, more ships to be in for longer periods of time, in addition to the vast yachts. I think tourism and the ships coming in will continue to be a key source of revenue for the area, but certainly not the only source of revenue," Mr. Duddridge stated.