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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsOfficials Introduce VIPorts Partners, Express Optimism About the Future

Officials Introduce VIPorts Partners, Express Optimism About the Future

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. expresses gratitude and appreciation while at Friday’s joint press briefing to introduce VIPorts Partners as the public-private partner chosen to redevelop the Cyril E. King and Henry E. Rohlsen Airports. (Photo courtesy V.I. Government House Facebook live stream)

Government and Virgin Islands Port Authority officials introduced VIPorts Partners as the public-private partner chosen to redevelop the Cyril E. King and Henry E. Rohlsen Airports during a joint press briefing on Friday morning.

The recently announced collaboration between VIPA and VIPorts Partners to revitalize the airports was celebrated amid a packed crowd at Government House on St. Thomas. Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., Lt. Gov. Tregenza A. Roach, and Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett were among those who attended the briefing.

“This is a historic moment for the Virgin Islands,” said Carlton Dowe, executive director of the VIPA. “It is historic in the sense that it took innovation and creativity to get us where we are today,” Dowe added, sharing a vision regarding the revitalization of travel and tourism in the territory.

Carlton Dowe, executive director of VIPA, expresses optimism about a collaboration with VIPorts Partners to revitalize airports on St. Thomas and St. Croix. (Photo courtesy V.I. Government House Facebook live stream)

Dowe noted that taxpayers would not be subjected to the substantial costs of constructing new facilities through the public-private partnership, known as a P3 project.

“We are using this [P3] process because this method has been successful in other arenas,” Dowe said. “Most of all, we’re not asking the taxpayers of this community to bear the burden of finding the money to do this project,” Dowe explained. “We are using private money to do a major public good,” he continued.

The following information about the P3 project is available on the VIPA website:

“The redevelopment of Cyril E. King and Henry E. Rohlsen airports is a P3 project—the first major one in the USVI. This project will be funded with private sector investment, while providing significant benefits to travelers by creating state-of-the-art airports and increasing local business opportunities. The P3 project is expected to bring substantial improvements to critical USVI assets by providing modernized travel amenities and improved traveler experience. It will also create hundreds of jobs in the near future, increase long-term employment opportunities, and stimulate continued economic growth without burdening government debt.”

Details on VIPA’s website also explained that VIPorts Partners, which is comprised of several businesses, “will enter into a transition agreement with the V.I. Port Authority to operate and maintain the terminals and both airports.” (A transition document was signed at the conclusion of the press briefing.)

Bryan and Roach also spoke enthusiastically during the briefing. The governor and lieutenant governor expressed their gratitude and excitement about the partnership.

Lt. Gov. Roach speaks during Friday’s press briefing to introduce VIPorts Partners. (Photo courtesy V.I. Government House Facebook live stream)

“I want to thank all of the people [involved], especially the V.I. Port Authority, the board and its employees, and Director Dowe, for bringing us to this moment,” Roach stated. “I am excited about the Virgin Islands taking its rightful place as a hub for [travel] in the Caribbean,” he continued.

Bryan echoed this sentiment and shared his delight with the collaboration.

“I am so excited!” Bryan proclaimed. The governor acknowledged the hard work that resulted in the creation of this partnership, and he asserted his dedication to helping to create more victories for the Virgin Islands.

“If you know me, I like to win,” Bryan said. “And win we will, with the leadership that we have at the port, the support we have in the [35th] Legislature [of the U.S. Virgin Islands], the support we have coming from our Delegate [to U.S. Congress] Stacey Plaskett, and all of the support I have from the lieutenant governor as we change course and make this territory the best [it can be]. Thank you all!” Bryan concluded.



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