Public Consultation on the Recovery and Development of the British Virgin Islands

The unprecedented trio – extreme floods on August 7th, Hurricane Irma on September 6th and Hurricane Maria on September 19th – affected the lives and livelihoods of each and every resident of the British Virgin Islands. These three events resulted in significant damages which exceeded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the British Virgin Islands. Hurricane Irma, the most destructive of the three events, caused widespread damage to the housing stock, road infrastructure, ports, telecommunications, electrical infrastructure and critical facilities. Four lives were lost and 125 persons were injured in the devastation.

The three extreme weather events have exposed the vulnerability that the BVI and other small islands face being on the frontline of climate change. The trends in ocean warming, sea level rise and the diminishing economic value of the environment caused by these occurrences, all point to the undeniable truth that climate change is real. Its impact has changed the course of our history and has plunged our nation into crisis. However, it is said that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. Let us therefore look at Irma as an opportunity to build a stronger BVI that is more resilient and sustainable. We have an excellent foundation and legacy to build upon. Our investment over the years in disaster preparedness, risk reduction and building strong structures, as well as our legacy of environmental stewardship which has culminated in the establishment of the first Climate Change Trust Fund in  the region, will  be cornerstone of our vision for a stronger, greener, smarter and better BVI.

Our vision for a future BVI will be built around our most important resource, our people. The resilience and faith instilled in our DNA by our ancestors has brought us through many challenges. Our future vision will therefore be built around the lessons we have learned from our shared experiences

Immediately following Hurricane Irma, the Government began work on bringing relief to the people of the BVI. Soon thereafter, we began the process of developing a plan to help the Territory recover. We have done some preliminary work on a Recovery and Development Plan which contains proposals for returning the Territory to some state of normalcy in the short-term and to a more sustainable and resilient state in the longer term. The proposals includes setting up a Recovery and Development Agency which will be responsible for the delivery of action plans in a timely, transparent, accountable and efficient manner. The Agency is proposed to have a five (5) year life.

It is hoped that by the end of the Plan’s five-year mandate, the people of the Virgin Islands will have safer homes, better health and social services, smart learning institutions for students, stronger national pride and identity, a green and innovative economy, economic success based on sustainable environment principles, a resilient physical infrastructure, a peaceful and safe Territory, strong governance underpinned by the rule of law and a smart disaster management structure.

This PROPOSAL is the beginning of our journey to building a stronger BVI and there is only one way to get there: TOGETHER! I urge you to carefully review this document and provide your input. Together, we are BVI STRONGER!

Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE Premier and Minister of Finance Government of the Virgin Islands

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Consultation

Government of the Virgin Islands is seeking the views of the general public on its proposals for the recovery of the British Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the prior tropical wave that affected the territory.

The consultation document sets out the sectors and priority actions for the recovery and also sets out proposals for a governance framework to manage the recovery and the creation of a new agency to support implementation of recovery plans.

Responses should be sent to the Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Responses in hard copy should be delivered to the Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee Office at the Ritter Building located Wickham’s Cay II.

An unprecedented series of extreme weather events

During the period of 7th August to 19th September 2017, the British Virgin Islands was affected by an unprecedented flood and two (previously rare) category 5 hurricanes. The most destructive of the three, Hurricane Irma, caused widespread and catastrophic damage to the Territory.

Significant physical, social, emotional and economic damage was inflicted on BVI

Damage across the Territory is estimated to be in excess of the Territory’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. Once economic losses are taken into account, the cost to BVI is significantly greater than the damage.

The damage to people’s lives is immeasurable. Some lost everything while others suffered varying degrees of loss. Displacement caused by loss of homes and the institutions that provide human and social services has placed significant hardship on all of the residents of the Territory. Four lives were lost and 125 persons injured.

The Government is leading the way to build a stronger, smarter, greener, better and more resilient BVI

In the immediate term, the Government is focusing on getting basic infrastructure restored, ensuring that housing needs are met, getting schools and health services back to full strength, restoring electrical power and ensuring that police, prison and courts are functional in order to provide security and confidence in the rule of law. Focus was also placed on getting economic activity back on track in the major sectors of tourism and financial services, as well as small and medium enterprises (SME), which are the main pillars of the BVI economy. Pressing impacts on residents such as social protection of the most vulnerable, waste and debris removal and management, housing for the displaced, schools for children and relief for those in need were given high priority.

Beyond the immediate term, Government is seeking the views of the general public on its proposals for the recovery of the British Virgin Islands in the short, medium and long term recovery and development

of the Territory. Government is proposing that the recovery focus on the following broad areas: Human and Social Services, Business and the Economy, Infrastructure, Governance and our Natural Resources.

Preliminary Plans have been developed and costed by the various Ministries and Departments. This is intended to provide the public with information for consideration and discussion. The Plan is working to achieve nine strategic outcomes which the Government of the Virgin Islands wants to deliver to the people of the Virgin Islands. These strategic outcomes are:

      • Better health and social services; SMART learning institutions supporting teaching excellence and student growth and development;
      • Stronger national pride and identity among all residents of the BVI;
      • Green and innovative economic growth built on a sustainable framework;
      • Sustainable natural resources managed by the principles of climate change adaptation and mitigation that meets the social and economic needs of the Territory;
      • Resilient and green technology-based physical infrastructure;
      • Peaceful and safe Territory with secure borders;
      • Strong governance institutions that support and promote the rule of law;
      • Disaster  resilience that supports  and safeguards  the  sustainable development  of the Virgin Islands.

The Government proposes to the public that recovery focuses on the following sectors and priority actions:

Human and Social Services: The immediate focus is on getting housing to livable standards swiftly and restoring our education and health facilities. In the short to medium term, the Plan seeks to restore the education and health infrastructure to a higher and more resilient standard, incorporating green and SMART technologies. In the medium to long term, the priority focus should be on:

  • Rebuilding of the education infrastructureincorporating SMART technologies;
  • Revising building standards to have a more resilient and safer housing stock;
  • Expediting the planned construction of polyclinicsin eastern and western zones of Tortola;
  • Strategic  investments  in  health  infrastructure  and  technologies  to  support  international accreditation and expansion of secondary and specialist healthcare services;
  • An actuarial review to inform the future development of the National Health Insurance.

Infrastructure: The Plan stresses immediate priority to restoring basic infrastructure to encourage the return of business activity and attracting new investment, particularly in tourism, financial services and SMEs. Priorities include:

  • Electricity - repairing the electrical power distribution and transmission network throughout the Territory and in the medium to longer-term focus on improving resilience by, for example, burying cables underground and exploring greater use of renewal energy;
  • RoadNetwork– The short-term focus is on making the road network functional and safe for users, followed by medium to long term programme of full repair and improvement;
  • Sewerage–  Restoration  of  the  sewerage  network,  followed  by  enhancement  to  increase resilience and getting the full network operational, including all treatment plants;
  • Water – Repair and reinstatement of plants, networks and all reservoirs are priorities. Upgrading all service lines and accessories to increase resilience and maximize leak detection is also prioritized;
  • Ports– The priority focus is to restore the ports in the Territory to allow for full restoration of import and border control systems, and inter and intra island transportation;
  • GovernmentBuildings– The short-term focus is to restore the House of Assembly, Government Administration Building, Magistrate Court, Supreme Court, Commercial Court, and the residences of the Attorney General and the Judges.

Business and Economy: The Plan requires Government to create an enabling environment for individuals and businesses to drive economic recovery and growth. Therefore, actions that support existing business sectors and attract new investment are prioritized in the Plan. Key priorities include:

  • Getting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) re-established through access to Government- backed loans, grants, and technical and operational support;
  • Restoring essential services to facilitate the return to BVI of those in the financial services sector

who temporarily relocated when firms implemented their disaster recovery plans;

  • Facilitating the return of the well-respected Commercial Court to BVI;
  • Assisting and providing incentives to the tourism sector to return it to full strength;
  • Streamlining  processes  and  developing  a  new  trade  policy  framework  for  the  Territory  to improve the attractiveness of BVI as a place to invest and do business.
  • Expanding the TB Lettsome International Airport to support the rapid economic expansion and facilitate a more effective and efficient recovery following future disasters, should they occur.

Natural Resources and Climate Change: The Plan recognizes the critical importance of the environment and its vulnerability and focuses on restoration, protection, management and monitoring of the environment. It also focuses on the economic value of the environment and the sustainability of its use. Priorities include:

  • Food security with a focus on accelerating the development of fisheries and agriculture into significant contributors to the Territory’s GDP;
  • Strengthening the environmental management framework and network;
  • Restoring terrestrial forests and landscapes given the devastation to endemic species.

Governance: The Immediate priorities focus on quickly restoring the systems and facilities of law and order, continuity of government operations from temporary and return to permanent facilities and strengthening communication with all stakeholders. In the medium to long term, the plan calls for a paradigm shift to a more services focused government with more efficient and technologically driven operations. Key priorities include:

  • Improving the efficiency and value for money of the public service;
  • Strengthening the Disaster Management function with lessons learnt from recent experiences;
  • Strengthen the institutions of law and order and security, including courts, border management and police.

An independent recovery agency and resilience fund is at the heart of BVI’s Action Plans

The task of reconstruction in the aftermath of the triple disaster that struck the British Virgin Islands is enormous and the road to recovery long. The vision and strategic outcomes outlined by the Government of the Virgin Islands require a strong institutional set up with significant and sustained financing along with the enabling environment and conditions necessary for individuals and businesses to drive the economic and social recovery needs and future growth.

In order to guide an effective, efficient and transparent recovery process, the Government of the Virgin Islands will establish a Recovery and Development Agency to coordinate the implementation of the British Virgin Islands Recovery & Development Plan. This agency, established through legislation, and managed by a board, supported by a secretariat, will be responsible for ensuring that the activities underlying the Recovery and Development Plan approved by the House of Assembly is carried out. The Agency will have a limited five-year mandate.

Funds will be disbursed for the implementation of activities included in the Recovery and Development Plan, based on approval of the Board of the Agency. The multi-stakeholder nature of the Board allows decisions to be taken in an impartial and transparent manner while preserving the integrity of the Recovery and Development Plan.

Access to sufficient and sustainable funding will be key to success

The recovery efforts will be financed through government as well as private sector spending.

The Government is in discussion with a range of potential donors and lenders to secure sustainable financing to implement the $721M Recovery and Development Plan through a mix of its own funds, grants, loans, insurance proceeds and private/NGO/statutory sources. The Plan calls for Government to contribute $58.9M to its recovery and is seeking $52.7M from grants, $221.7M from loans, $331.4M from private/NGO/Statutory sources and $56.7M from insurance.

Projected recovery cost to government is presented alongside proposals for funding the recovery.

1.0        CONSULTATION

DESCRIPTION

Government is seeking the views of the general public on its proposals for the recovery of the British Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the prior tropical wave that affected the territory.

The consultation document sets out the sectors and  priority actions for the recovery.  The sectors covered include Human and Social Services, Infrastructure, Business and Economy, Natural Resources and Climate Change and Governance.

The consultation document also sets out proposals for a governance framework to manage the recovery and the creation of a new agency to support implementation of recovery plans.

Projected recovery cost to government is presented alongside proposals for funding the recovery.

RESPONSES

Responses should be sent to the Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Responses in hard copy should be delivered to the Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee Office at the Ritter Building located Wickhams Cay II.

DEADLINE

The public consultation opened 20 December 2017 and closes on 20 January 2018.

CONTACT

For questions about this consultation contact the Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee at the Government central switchboard at Tel: +1 (284) 494-3701. Ask for the DRCC.

2.0        INTRODUCTION

2.1 UNPRECEDENTED TRIO OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS

On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma, a category 5 hurricane, passed directly over the BVI, inflicting catastrophic infrastructural damage to the islands. The hurricane brought sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of up to 225 mph hit BVI (Figure 1).

Hurricane Irma was followed by the passage of Hurricane Maria, another category 5 hurricane, on 19 September, which passed north of the Territory and deposited 8 inches of rain. The hurricane primarily affected the northern coast of the main island of Tortola, which suffered severe coastal erosion.

The two hurricanes were preceded by a tropical wave on 7 August 2017, which produced unprecedented rainfall across the Territory (almost 15 inches in just
over 20 hours), resulting in rock falls, landslides, flooding and damage to infrastructure, homes and businesses.The damage to people’s lives is immeasurable. Displacement caused by loss of homes and the institutions that provide human and social services has placed significant hardship on all of the residents of the Territory. Four lives were lost and 125 persons injured.

This trio of extreme weather events have left widespread damage to the road infrastructure, housing and building stock, ports, telecommunications, electrical infrastructure and critical facilities whose rebuilding is critical to recovery.

The severity of the infrastructure damage caused by the storms has also disrupted the economy, which will require significant government and private sector input to recover.

3.0        RECOVERY TO DEVELOPMENT

Vision

Our vision for recovery is a stronger, smarter, greener and better BVI that is more resilient and sustainable. That means a BVI that is economically vibrant, socially cohesive, environmentally sustainable, structurally resilient and adhering to the principles of good governance and the rule of law.

Guiding Principles

The vision will be guided by some fundamental principles including:

      • Learning  from  the  Past  and  Strengthening  existing  Knowledge  and  Expertise  to  meet  new challenges
      • Ensuring Accountability and Transparency in Governance
      • Promoting Inclusiveness of all Residents of the BVI in the affairs of the Territory
      • Building a Stronger and Diversified Economic base with a focus on Value-Added Services
      • Empowering communities to actively participate in decision making related to Recovery and long-term Development of the Territory
      • Disaster Risk Reduction to Increase Sustainability and Resilience

Strategic Outcomes

The Recovery and Development Plan is working to achieve nine strategic outcomes which the Government of the Virgin Islands wants to deliver to the people of the Virgin Islands by the end of the recovery period.
These strategic outcomes are:

  • Better health and social services under a strengthened National Health Insurance system;
  • Smart  learning  institutions   supporting  teaching  excellence  and  student  growth  and development;
  • Stronger national pride and identity among all residents of the BVI;
  • Green and innovative economic growth built on a sustainable framework;
  • Sustainable natural resources managed by the principles of climate change adaptation and mitigation that meets the social and economic needs of the Territory;
  • Resilient and green technology-based physical infrastructure;
  • Peaceful and safe Territory with secure borders;
  • Strong governance institutions that support and promote the rule of law;

9.   Disaster resilience that supports and safeguards the sustainable development of the Virgin

4.0        PROPOSALS

The Government proposes to the public that recovery focuses on the following sectors and priority actions: human and social services; infrastructure; business and economy; governance; and natural resources and climate change. The following summarises the overall recovery priorities across these five areas and their sub-sectors.

4.1        Human and Social Services

The health and wellbeing of the people of BVI is fundamental to the future of the Territory. Our Government proposes a focus on the following priorities:

3.1.1     Health and Social Development

  • Improvements to healthcare infrastructure

Like much else, the health infrastructure was damaged during the three weather events, and interventions are now being made in the short and medium-term to recover and advance strategic health systems goals. Some priority actions include:

 

1.

Incorporating new technologies into making BVI’s health infrastructure stronger, greener and smarter which is consistent with international standards set by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO);

2.

Expediting the planned construction of polyclinics in the Eastern and Western zones of Tortola to offer a wider range of health services while reducing the number of clinic sites required to serve these population clusters;

3.

Supporting international accreditation and expansion of secondary and specialist healthcare services offered in the Territory;

4.

Completing an actuarial review and using the results to inform the future development of the National Health Insurance System.

II.

 

Social Protection

The priority actions are:

    • Assisting persons in the lower income brackets, seniors and children who are particularly vulnerable is a priority. This means an expected increase in applications for Public Assistance grants.
    • Strengthening the management and delivery of employment, livelihood and social protection services to affected individuals, households and communities in partnership with the voluntary and private sectors.
    • Reviewing the network of buildings used to provide social welfare services including emergency shelter during extreme weather events, to ensure that the structures are able serve their intended purpose.
  • Waste and Debris Management

The priority is to dispose of tons of debris caused by the hurricane.

  • Housing

Priorities actions are:

    • Implementing a range of housing solutions to meet the need of an estimated 5,200 displaced persons and damage to residential buildings estimated to be over $522 million;
    • Strengthening and enforcing the Building Code to ensure that the housing stock can withstand future catastrophic events.
  • Education

The immediate priority is to get temporary facilities to accommodate classes across the Territory whilst the plans for the short term repair and replacement of the permanent infrastructure is executed and the long-term plans for modernizing educational infrastructure is developed.

Other priorities include:

        • Working in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management on the Safe/SMART school project which envisions that all schools will be built and re-built with these tenets in mind;
        • Restoring school grounds for recreational activities and building new recreational facilities;
        • Incorporating technology, including laptops and tablets, more extensively to aid student learning;
        • Supplying Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDC) further developing special needs programmes and providing psycho-social support to faculty and students;
        • Exploring new technologies for refurbishing and rebuilding schools to meet modern standards and educational needs, including standardized designs and modular construction that are cost

Priorities include:

        • Restoring library services that have been displaced and resources that have been lost or damaged; and
        • Reopening museums in 2018 and planning the development of a multi-purpose building in the Road Town area which would encompass Her Majesty’s Prisonmuseum which was housed on Main Street, the Sugar Works Museum, other heritage sites and also house a performing arts centre and a National Library.

Infrastructure

The Infrastructure Action Plan supports short, medium, and long-term recovery efforts. The Plan is informed by a Critical National Infrastructure assessment carried out after the hurricane. Plans include:

Electrical Infrastructure – Short-term focus remains on repairing the electrical power distribution and transmission network throughout the Territory and repairs to the Pockwood Pond power station. The medium-term to longer-term focus is on improving resilience by, for example, burying cables underground and increasing use of renewal energy.

Electrical Inspection and Testing – The short-term focus remains on testing electrical facilities in properties of all types (many of which have been damaged) to ensure consumer safety as properties are reconnected to the grid.

Road Network – The short-term focus remains on making the road network functional and safe for users, followed by a medium to long-term programme of full repair and improvement to roads, sidewalks, drains and ghuts.

Sewerage – The short term restoration of the sewerage network will be pursued, followed by enhancements to increase resilience. Proposed works include modernizing and streamlining the system and network in operation at Cane Garden  Bay, commissioning  of the Paraquita  Bay Waste Water Treatment plant, enhancing the network of sewerage pump stations in and around Road Town, and repairing the Burt Point Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Water – The short term plan includes repair and reinstatement of reverse osmosis plants, water distribution networks, damaged pump stations and all reservoirs are priorities. The burial of all service lines to increase resilience and the fitment of meters to commercial and residential properties will enable better monitoring of water usage [and leak detection].

Government Buildings – The short-term focus is on restoration of the five highest priority buildings (the Government  Administration  Building,  Magistrates  Court,  Archives  and  Records  Management  Unit, Supreme Court, Attorney General Chambers), followed by a programme of construction to replace other key structures destroyed or severely damaged during the events.

Sea Ports – The focus is on the repair and restoration of functional aspects at six main ports throughout the Territory to allow for the full re-establishment of border control services and systems and the improvement of inter and intra island transportation.

Business and Economy

The Government of the Virgin Islands provides the enabling environment for individuals and businesses to drive economic recovery. The Government has therefore prioritized actions that support existing business sectors and attract new internal and external investment in BVI.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in BVI’s economy. SMEs will be supported to grow and prosper through access to Government-backed loans, grants, and technical and operational assistance.

Priority has been given to actions to restore essential services to facilitate the return of those in the financial services sector to the BVI who temporarily relocated elsewhere as firms implemented their disaster recovery plans. Work will continue on repairs to the well-respected Commercial  Court  to resume operations in early 2018.

The tourism sector prior to Irma was the largest contributor to the Territory’s economy and accounted for one in four jobs. Tourism assets such as hotels and marinas are privately owned and had insurance cover. This may not apply to some smaller operators, and the Government is looking at assistance and incentives programmes to support the return of the sector to full strength.

The Government will develop an enabling environment to facilitate the restoration of major hotels, villas and small properties and the restoration of yachting sector.

Priority will be given to improvements in BVI’s infrastructure which are central to encouraging business activity to return, attracting value added financial services business, further developing the tourism product and developing new and innovative areas of economic activity. Expanding the TB Lettsome International Airport, and improving  telecommunication  services, are a critical  part of the support infrastructure required to attract and retain targeted business activity.

The environment for doing business is also an important factor. The Government will continue to work on streamlining processes and developing a new trade policy framework for the Territory to improve further the attractiveness of BVI as a place to invest and do business.

Natural Resources and Climate Change

The immediate and short –term priorities are to clean and restore the natural environment and provide support for fishermen and farmers. Medium to long-term focus is on re-establishing initiatives that address sound environmental management, biodiversity conservation, rational and effective land and seabed management. Other priorities include:

      • Restoring our beaches and shorelines;
      • Improving mitigation and adaptation to combat climate change recognizing the critical importance of the environment and its vulnerability;
      • Increasing focus on restoration, protection, management and monitoring of the environment;
      • Strengthening the balance between the economic value of the environment and its sustainability with a focus on food security and accelerating the development of fisheries and agriculture into significant contributors to the Territory’s GDP;

5.  Restoring terrestrial forest and landscape functions given the level of devastation to endemic species.

Governance

Governance is a critical part of a successful post disaster recovery. The Government is well-positioned to raise awareness of the SMART Recovery Approach that includes building better, stronger and greener. Governance issues in the short, medium and long term include areas that focus on:

      • Continuity of government operations
      • The Public Service
      • Law and Order and national security
      • Disaster Management
      • Communications

The impact of the three weather events caused significant disruption to government operations. The Governance Action Plan includes reforms that will deliver greater continuity in the event of future disasters with efficiency improvements in normal business conditions.

Maintaining law and order is fundamental to our security, social wellbeing and the success of BVI’s economy.  Action will include a focus on strong cooperation between various agencies.

The Government will re-establish its National Disaster Management Programme and hazard-monitoring infrastructure, and strengthen the legislative and institutional frameworks and systems for disaster risk reduction.

Communications with residents and other stakeholders will encourage participation in the process of reconstruction and development and form an important part of the good governance agenda.

5.0        GOVERNANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION

The Government proposes the following approach to the governance framework and implementation of the recovery.

Partnership Approach

The Government will implement the Recovery and Development Plan in partnership with all relevant stakeholders including civil society/faith-based organisations, NGOs, development partners, private sector, academic & research institutions and all people in the British Virgin Islands. A period of public consultation will allow for input and feedback to the Recovery and Development Plan and consideration for amendments before it is submitted to the House of Assembly for approval.

Implementation Structure

The task of reconstruction in the aftermath of the triple disaster that struck the British Virgin Islands is enormous and the road to recovery long. The vision and strategic outcomes outlined by the Government of the Virgin Islands require a strong institutional set up with significant and sustained financing along with the enabling environment and conditions necessary for individuals and businesses to drive the economic and social recovery needs and future growth.

In order to guide an effective, efficient and transparent recovery process, the Government of the Virgin Islands will establish a Recovery and Development Agency to coordinate the implementation of the British Virgin Islands Recovery & Development Plan. This agency, established through legislation, and managed by an independent board, supported by a secretariat, will be responsible for ensuring that the activities underlying the Recovery and Development Plan approved by the House of Assembly is carried out. The Agency will have a limited five-year mandate.

Funds will be disbursed for the implementation of activities included in the Recovery and Development Plan, based on approval of the Board of the Agency. The multi-stakeholder nature of the Board allows decisions to be taken in an impartial and transparent manner while preserving the integrity of the Recovery and Development Plan.

The Agency will be tasked with driving the recovery process by fast-tracking the execution of projects and ensuring proper coordination, both with government ministries and with external partners. The Agency is to be staffed through a combination of core personnel, secondment from government entities and other agencies, as well as outsourced experts and consultants. Through expert human resources and knowledgeable staff, the Agency will be able to effectively and efficiently lead on its mandate of recovery and reconstruction.

The Agency will be composed of a Board and a Secretariat that will support the Board in carrying out the day to day functions. The main objective of the Agency is to ensure that the Recovery and Development Plan is implemented in a timely and efficient manner.

GovernmentMinistrieswill be responsible for articulating in the form of clearly stated requirements, the desired outcomes that are in accordance with the Recovery and Development Plan, including defining the functional and project requirements for each activity in the Plan. These will be submitted to the Secretariat development of detailed plans as required. Once the Ministry approves the detailed plans, the Agency procures the resources to execute the project on behalf of the Ministry who is responsible for monitoring the project to ensure it meets the Ministry’s requirements.

Cabinet will be responsible for developing the Recovery and Development Plan and submitting it to the House of Assembly for approval. Cabinet will receive monthly reports on the implementation of the Plan and conduct annual reviews to ensure the Plan is meeting its mandate as approved by Cabinet.

The House of Assembly will approve the Recovery and Development Plan. Any revisions to the Plan which alters the substance of the plan or the approved expenditure would require the approval of the House of Assembly via Cabinet. The House of Assembly also approves the appointment of the Board of Directors.

Funding the Agency: The Agency will  be funded  through  a combination  of financial  and  technical resources from the Government of Virgin Islands, the UK, donors and development partners.

Implementation Schedule

The Recovery and Development Plan is supported by a detailed implementation plan (IP) that includes a listing of activities, indicative costs and projected cash flows and schedules that are required to achieve the outcomes and associated outputs.

6.0        RECOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN COST SUMMARY

The recovery and development plan is estimated to cost over $721 million. Cost estimates, along with the anticipated sources of the funding, are detailed in Table 2.

Table1:IndicativeCostEstimatesby Sector and Funding Source.

Appendix II summarises the area/sector and sub-sector costs by short, medium and long-term. Appendix III provides a summary of proposed implementation activities and their estimated costs.

7.0        FINANCING THE PLAN

The Government proposes to fund the recovery through a combination of government spending, grants, loans, insurance, and statutory borrowings, NGO support and private sector partnerships.

The Government is also exploring the available options to increase revenue, improve public sector efficiency and reduce recurrent expenditure.

Opportunities to increase Revenue

The Government will pursue a mix of short-term and longer-term measures to maximize revenue whilst retaining incentives for businesses and individuals to invest and spend to support economic growth. The following are some of the options up for consideration in helping to increase economic activity and Government revenue. The proposed measures for achieving this objective, includes:

      • Reviewing the existing structure of taxes and fees, and making proposals for simplifications that support efficient collection, increase yield and facilitate targeted investment;
      • Introducing short-term measures to increase revenue yield while longer-term work is underway;
      • Implementing specific incentives/measures to facilitate construction boom, and increases in government revenue and property value. This includes creating markets for local supplies and ancillary services, accommodation for workers and supporting the demand for green and sustainable construction.

Improving public sector efficiency and reducing current expenditure

The Government is focused on improving efficiency in the public sector to reduce running costs and create a business friendly environment. The proposed measures for achieving this objective, included:

      • Introducing ways to cap the liability of the current Government funded pension scheme and reduce public sector costs over the long-term. Consideration also to extending to the private sector and promoting mobility between public and private sectors as well as encouraging residents to provide for their retirement which will further reduce potential future calls on the public purse;
      • Significantly reforming the public service to a leaner and more efficient operation focused on the delivery of core government functions and reducing the wage bill;
      • Implementing a State-Owned Enterprise Performance Framework (SOEPF) model to enforce specific business and efficiency standards, including reducing the level of subventions required, eliminating functions no longer required and transferring functions to the private sector

Developing a privatization programme

The Government is open to the option of privatization as a way to reduce the cost burden on central government whilst improving efficiency and effectiveness of essential services. Privatization candidates will be reviewed and the viability of bringing these to market in the shortest possible time consistent with securing value for taxpayers. As set out above, the enforcement of the SOEPF will be used to identify candidates.

Impact of Recovery and Development Plan on Economic and Fiscal Outcomes

Where the Recovery and Development Plan is implemented, the projected economic decline is expected to be less, and the return to economic growth is expected to be quicker. Similarly, the Recovery and Development Plan is projected to have a positive impact on Revenue outcomes. It is anticipated that there will be direct and indirect effects of public sector investment on GDP and the overall economy. It is expected that for every dollar spent during the recovery period, there will be some percentage direct increase in GDP. In addition to this, there is expected to be much larger indirect impacts because roads will be fixed, access to the Territory improved, beaches will be a source of economic activity in tourism,

etc. these improvements are expected to stimulate private sector investment and increase economic activity that will raise the GDP beyond previous levels.

The projected impacts of the Recovery and Development Plan on both GDP and Government revenues will require detailed reports of impact, damages and losses from public and private sector sources. A technical team from the United Nations Agency on the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is preparing the report having already visited the Territory.

Financing Options

The projected financial needs as outlined for the British Virgin Islands recovery process amounts to approximately $721 million over a five-year time span. The British Virgin Islands does not have the capacity to borrow at this level, and therefore must achieve a mix of funding to meet the critical needs, restore economic viability and sustain growth.

Loans will be required to address the current infrastructural and extensive rebuilding needs of the Territory. The Government has already made some level of commitment to the recovery process in the short term with nearly $45 million approved for expenditure to address the immediate and short-term rehabilitation needs of the Territory in 2017 and early 2018. It is expected that this will be supported by grants and donor contributions.

In the medium to long term, the Government will look to the Caribbean Development Bank and others with the expectation that major financing will be approved  sometime  during  the  first  quarter  of 2018. Discussions are also ongoing with the BVI Social Security Board to provide some level of loan funding as well. These options along with the revenue streams and the reserve funds will be used to support the implementation of the Plan.

Of significant importance to this plan will be the ability of the BVI to mobilize mixed sources of financial support. The Plan calls for Government to contribute $58.9M to its recovery and is seeking $52.7M from grants, $221.7M from loans, $331.4M from private/NGO/Statutory sources and $56.7M from insurance

8.0        NEXT STEPS

The Recovery Coordinating Committee established by Cabinet to advance the Territory’s recovery plans will consider the input of the public in preparing a final recovery plan to the Government for approval by the House of Assembly.

Last modified onWednesday, 27 December 2017 15:43

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