Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has said persons living on sister islands will suffer greatly with the government’s plan to have domestic ferries operating from the Cyril B Romney Tortola Pier Park as of April 15.
Recently, the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) said domestic ferry operations will be routed through Pier Park while international ferry operations will remain at the Road Town Jetty.
But in a press release on Monday, Penn said rerouting locals through the Pier Park is a bad idea.
He explained that oftentimes, shipping bulky items to the sister islands via ferry proves to be a “logistical nightmare”. He said this might be compounded with the difficulty in finding parking and a designated loading location at the Pier Park.
Penn further expressed his fears that the lack of an operational jetty at West End can hurt the Jost Van Dyke economy where many of the businesses depend so heavily on tourism.
“We cannot afford another false start,” Penn said while addressing the previous two postponements of the territory’s seaports.
“There are many persons across the territory who have been unemployed or underemployed for over a year now due to the pandemic and these persons cannot afford to continue undergoing such undue hardship. Therefore we must open our seaports and get our economy moving,” Penn statement said.
The Opposition Leader called on the Premier to ensure the necessary resources, equipment and systems are put in place to facilitate the reopening of the seaports and the opening of the territory on a larger scale to visitors.
According to the press release, Penn and other members of the Opposition “continue to offer suggestions, both privately and publicly, to the current administration in an effort to help navigate the territory through the COVID
-19 crisis on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands