Local attorney-at-law Daniel Fligelstone-Davies announced himself this week as an independent Territorial At-Large candidate in the upcoming general elections and has put forward proposals to address everyday problems facing Virgin Islanders.
One of the problems the political newcomer has identified is the number of buildings such as residential homes that remain damaged from the 2017 floods and hurricanes because property owners cannot afford to fix them.
As a proposed fix, Fligelstone-Davies said the territory could implement an urban renewal initiative through the creation of a statutory board.
“The Urban Renewal Board would ensure that the less fortunate in our population will be able to repair and renovate their homes. This will not operate to put cash into homeowners’ hands, but rather the scheme will work through the Board; directly contracting the repair/renovation work,” Fligelstone-Davies explained.
He said this body could also operate to assist the less fortunate to obtain soft loans to conduct these repairs. The attorney also noted that means testing to assess an applicant’s true financial situation would be a critical component of the initiative.
BVI needs food reserves for disasters
While on the subject of homes affected by the August floods and hurricanes Irma and Maria, Fligelstone-Davies underscored that it is imperative for the BVI to bolster its disaster preparedness efforts considering that the territory is situated in an active hurricane zone.
“One of the programmes that ought to be implemented is the government building up healthy reserves of food, sanitisations items, and other emergency supplies that could be readily distributed in times of national crisis,” Fligelstone-Davies stated.
“Naturally, agriculture and fishing will have to form a part of this initiative. Although agriculture and fishing generally produce perishable items, we must leverage technologies such as vacuum sealing and freeze drying which extend foods’ shelf life and ensures our society’s resilience against this increasingly dangerous threat,” he added.
Fligelstone-Davies said he has more ideas to help advance the territory but emphasised that he does not have all the solutions to the problems the BVI is facing.
He said this is why he looks forward to getting public feedback and hearing ideas others may have.
Fligelstone-Davies was one of the attorneys that represented former Speaker Julian Willock and other members of the House of Assembly during last year’s Commission of Inquiry