Three state-of-the-art community centres have been officially handed over to the Government of the Virgin Islands.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley in an interview with the Department of Information expressed his gratitude to the multilateral organisations which have facilitated the implementation of these projects, marking a significant breakthrough in the recovery from the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Premier Wheatley stated that the multi-purpose facilities contain SMART features to promote energy efficiency, in alignment with Government of the Virgin Islands’ commitment to responsible development and environmental conservation. He said the community centres can be also be utilised as emergency shelters.
The Premier explained the historical and cultural significance of community centres to the people of the Virgin Islands to emphasise the importance of handovers to the public.
He said, “They are places where many of our golden citizens meet for their cultural activities and to socialise, where we hold community meetings, where non-profit organisations come together to support different community members. Equally important, community centres throughout the Virgin Islands also serve as emergency shelters during natural disasters.”
Premier Wheatley, added that the Government has forged a strong continuous relationship with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) based on cooperation and mutual interests.
“Through facilitation provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Development, in partnership with the Premier’s Office, we were not only able to access assistance in managing the COVID 19 pandemic, but post-hurricane relief that has allowed for the rebuilding of our community centres.” he added.
The Premier stated that the Government is also participating in strategic discussions to advance future opportunities in the areas of socio-economic development.
“We have great prospects for partnerships in the future as it pertains to accessing funds through regional and international programmes supported by the United Nations (UN) framework. Similarly, the European Union (EU) has been a significant source of funding for the Virgin Islands which is part of an overarching strategy to aid us in reaching our sustainable development goals,” the Premier added
The European Union (EU) has played an integral role through the provision of funding for this project in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which engaged in technical oversight to ensure that the community centres are in alignment with global SMART standards for the Valerie O. Thomas community centre in Sea Cows Bay, the Gertude and Christina Warner community in Purcell Estate, and the Emile E. Dunlop community centre in Anegada. In November 2021, the West End community centre was the first to be handed over in this series of projects.
The €2 million was allocated by the EU for repairs and restoration, while PAHO was tasked with technical facilitation responsibilities for the project’s execution.
The Premier’s Office continues to function as an interface between the international community and the government, focusing on specific socio-economic needs and areas for community development.
Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Email: [email protected]