The decision was made on February 17, 2021, during a cabinet meeting chaired by His Excellency, the Governor Mr John J. Rankin, CMG, which was held at the Financial Services Commission's Conference Room where all members were present.
The post-cabinet meeting report released on Thursday, February 25, 2021, said Cabinet "Approved: the continuance of works with the issuance of a new contract agreement between the Government of the Virgin Islands and EZ Shipping Limited to provide two barges to serve as radar platforms for the securing of sea borders for a further one month, with effect from 23rd December 2020 through 22nd January 2021 in the amount of $360,000."
The report said that the previous contract with EZ Shipping Limited "has resulted in improved border security measures that are quantitatively successful in deterring illicit border activity; effected a marked reduction in marine traffic and that the BVI is working assiduously towards finalisation of a Sea Border Protection Plan to include long-term solutions."
Furthermore, the post-cabinet report indicated that Cabinet agreed that the said funding would be brought before the House of Assembly for its stamp of approval "at its earliest convenient sitting."
It was also decided that the Attorney General's Chambers would vet the contract before it was signed.
The VI Government had turned to the barges to boost border security following a spike in COVID-19 cases linked to human smuggling into the VI back in August 2020.
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