Wednesday, February 10 – The creation of a modern port facility with related amenities at West End moved one step closer to reality on Tuesday with the passage in the House of Assembly of a motion to adopt and approve a resolution to acquire land on which to construct the facility.

Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Hon. Omar W. Hodge moved the motion which generated much discussion but received unanimous support from all members of the House.

Thanking the members for their full support Minister Hodge said, “It is indeed gratifying for me to be at the steering wheel of this resolution. I thank and congratulate the Premier and my colleagues for their strong support and interest in the people of these Virgin Islands. As soon as we release this land in the West End area, things are going to fly.”

Premier Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE, who in his capacity as and Minister of Finance has responsibility for ports, pointed out that Government first attempted to acquire the land in 1997 and over time held extensive negotiations to secure the land. He added that only after deliberations this step is being taken.

“For the national interest it had to be done. I believe that justice will be done.  The country needs it and if the country needs it and the people need it then we, the Government, have to pay attention to what is needed,” Premier O’Neal said.

Members of the House were pleased with the resolution and citied some of the current challenges which exist at the West End port of entry which includes over-crowdedness, lack of adequate toilet facilities, lack of modern conveniences such automated teller machines, inadequate parking and insufficient space to conduct examinations in a professional and private manner.

Government acted in accordance with Section 3 (1) of the Land Acquisition Ordinance (Cap. 222) which provides for the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands, with the approval of the House of Assembly, to clause a declaration to consider any land to be acquired for a public purpose.

Cabinet considered and agreed on January 27 that the land be acquired for a public purpose in accordance with the Land Acquisition Ordinance (Cap. 222).  The lands measures 0.36 acres and comprises of Parcel 176 and 181 of Block 2034B of the West End Registration Section.