Opposition Leader Marlon Penn said the constant ‘false starts’ for the reopening of the BVI’s seaports stem from the Fahie administration’s lack of planning and reflects poorly on BVI.
Yesterday, the BVI Ports Authority announced that the reopening of the Road Town Ferry Terminal to international traffic was again deferred; this time to April 15.
Among the reasons given was the insufficient number of medical personnel available to screen incoming visitors. Another reason outlined was the rise in COVID
-19 cases in Caribbean countries from which tourist travel to the BVI.
In a press release Thursday morning, Penn said: “The government first announced a reopening date for our seaports of December 8. The reopening was delayed to January 21, and then a further delay of March 1 was announced. However, as the March 1 deadline is drawing near, we are now receiving reports that the reopening has a further delay of April 15.”
“To date, we have not received any updates or any information on the progress, processes and/or logistics of how the reopening of the ports will be managed; leaving us to infer that a reopening in the near future may not be forthcoming,” the Opposition Leader
Penn also bemoaned the effects this extended closure of local seaports is having on the sister islands of Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, and Virgin Gorda — all of which are heavily dependent on tourism.
“We continue to see the disturbing effects these delays have on business owners who have had to make the unfortunate decision to close their doors or operate at minimal capacity; such as Quito’s, Top of the Baths and others,” Penn said.
He also stated that the extended closure of the seaports is causing damage to the territory’s global reputation.