During last Thursday’s community meeting with elected members of the government, residents of the sister island asked several questions to gain clarity on a way forward.
While some of the questions were answered during the meeting, others were deferred by the Premier, who said he did not want to preempt his speech which was scheduled for Monday, October 26.
But during the October 28 Opposition’s media briefing two days later, Jost Van Dyke representative, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull said residents are still clueless about their next step since the questions for which they were anticipating a response are yet to be answered.
“There is nothing happening on Jost Van Dyke now in terms of work, in terms of persons being able to earn income. We were told to wait for Monday and Monday came and absolutely not one question that they were told to wait for Monday was answered on Monday. I saw that the people took them (government) to task on social media and then they came back last night. So I was hoping that maybe something would come out on Tuesday, and yet again nothing.”
“Up to last night (Tuesday), the Premier did not announce which ports because that was a question that was asked in Jost Van Dyke — ‘which ports are going to be opened’? And you still haven’t heard which ports are going to be, so everything is almost like an element of surprise,” he added.
Turnbull said the manner in which the Premier is handling the territory’s affairs has gotten to the stage where he has become fed up with what he is seeing.
“I am disappointed to the point of becoming angry because the entire government travelled to Jost Van Dyke after seven or eight months to give them an update, give them a preview of what was to come in terms of them being out of work [for] almost nine months … What angers me is there has not been any identification, any articulation on what’s going to happen seven days from December 1st,” her argued.
Where are the conversations?
The Opposition legislator added that while he hopes another media conference is held to address the December 8 reopening date for the marine sector, he is concerned with the inadequate communication between the government and the sister island’s tourism stakeholders, thus far.
“There is a BVI Tourist Board desk in the United States Virgin Islands. There are the stakeholders on the island of Jost Van Dyke — hoteliers, the villa owners, the restaurants — that have shared their concerns. They have all called into the various tourism meetings — the boaters meetings, the hotel meetings — and every last one of them that I have spoken to has said they have not gotten a clear understanding as to what is going to happen, how are they going to survive if they’re making it difficult for people to come,” Turnbull stated.
He further said neither he nor his constituents will continue to be fooled by the false promises made by the government.
“I want to say to this government on behalf of the people of Jost Van Dyke and on behalf of the people of this territory that we are not fools and we will not be taken for fools. Don’t insult our intelligence and just continue to talk and do the endless chatter and hope that we forget what you have been saying.”
All great changes are preceded by chaos.”