Former legislator, Myron Walwyn, has concluded that the government can afford to partially fund the cost of travel for residents who commute to the sister island of Anegada.
Late last year, Ninth District Representative, Vincent Wheatley, argued that it was too expensive to visit Anegada and urged legislators to consider alternative measures that would make it cheaper for visitors and residents to get to the sister island.
Walwyn, while speaking on a recent Cut Deep interview, suggested that subsidising the cost of travel to Anegada should be a matter for the government to explore ways of funding.
“They can’t get [to Tortola] to do it. The only way they can get here is by ferry. You have a responsibility to subsidise the ferry. You may not be able to do it every day but at least three times a week. You can do that. We can afford it,” Walwyn shared.
The former two-term lawmaker described the situation as a reality that needs to happen in the initial stages, at the very least.
“Government just needs to subsidise it because of the activity in Anegada; at least in the beginning stages,” Walwyn said. “It’s not going to be profitable for any private enterprise to keep running between the two islands,” he added.
According to the former Education Minister, there are just some things a government has to do in the initial stages. He likened it to the situation with banks in Virgin Gorda and argued that “it happens everywhere in small communities”.
Walwyn was asked about other ferry operators in the industry that are reportedly receiving a subsidy from the government and questioned why those plying the Anegada route are not beneficiaries in a similar manner.
“I don’t know much about the players involved, but I’m just simply saying that… just without even seeing the numbers, it wouldn’t be profitable for a private enterprise to do that, but you need that service,” Walwyn expressed.
He further commented that the issue should not only be approached from a tourism perspective alone.
“Anegada is part of the BVI. We should do everything within our power to make sure they have access to the same services like every other island in the Virgin Islands
,” Walwyn said.