A caller to the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Let’s Talk radio show expressed surprise at the enormous construction cost for a bathroom facility at the Brewer’s Bay beach in the Second District.
The bathroom, which has been a long-promised amenity in the area, has suffered repeated setbacks over the years, but Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley assured the resident recently that progress is being made with the project.
Premier Wheatley told the caller that, while he could not give a date for the opening of the bathroom facility since it was under the remit of Labour Minister, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, monies have been allocated to the completion of the project.
The Premier related that his government apportioned $101,000 towards the completion of the project through a budget supplementary appropriation late last week. “I think, as a Minister of Finance, I’ve done my part,” he stated.
The caller, in response said that former Premier Andrew Fahie
told residents three different quotes for the cost of the project – $163,000, $143,000 and $125,000. “It looks like everybody is telling you something different that isn’t adding up, I don’t understand,” he said.
But as the Premier sought to assure the resident that the figure he mentioned was not the total cost, the caller interrupted to express his dissatisfaction with the budgeted figure. “But, that kind of money for a bathroom… to me, that is like if you’re building a house. I mean, a bathroom for that kind of money?” He asked.
The premier promised in return to get the total cost for the public and also a breakdown of the bill of quantities so persons could see how the money was being spent.
Contract signed since February 2022!
Back in February 2022, K & C Construction was awarded a contract valued at $124,258.70 for the project under then-Premier Andrew Fahie
. Works on the restroom facilities were expected to commence on March 1, and continue for a six-month period until August 31. However, it was not explained what caused the delays and why the project was never done.
Then-Natural Resources and Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley, told residents at the time that it had been the government’s aim for many years to ensure that popular beaches have bathrooms.
“When we got in, we first started with the Long Bay bathroom at Beef Island, and that has since been serving the community as well as the visitors very well. We will try to do this at all our premiere beaches throughout the BVI. We have done The Baths many years ago, we still have to do Spring Bay, Savannah Bay, and all of our other popular beaches,” the former Natural Resources Minister stated at the time.