Speaking to Virgin Islands News Online today, September 21, 2022, Mr Chinnery added that his contention is not one to tell the contractor what to do, but to ensure that his community benefits from monies being spent on the island.
“We are of the opinion that if they are talking about spending this amount of money in the community… it should have an open discussion to find out how much young workers we have, who we could train to be on board,” he said.
“If this kind of money will be spending in this area, I think the people should have a first preference or crack at it and then what we can’t do, then we outsource… not that we are telling you what to do with your company, but it’s only fair,” he added.
Local construction firm Quality Construction Limited was awarded the contract for the building of the school to the tune of $4,333, 743.86. According to the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency (RDA), six pre-qualification applications were received for the project, including five from the Virgin Islands and one from St Lucia.
However, according to Mr Chinnery, local skilled workers who approach the contractor for work are being told that area is already covered. He said areas include plumbing services and a heavy equipment operators.
“Me and my brother, we own the New Horizon Ferry and other services… and we have not been fully approached to take part in any of the work,” he added while noting that his company has also pumped sponsorship monies into the school in the past.
During a September 15, 2022, Pre-construction meeting at the current school in Jost van Dyke, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, and Sports, Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL) said that she knows the project is a long time in coming, and the community is looking forward to seeing works being done.
Mr Chinnery; however, has called for a cohesive project that involves the locals of the island where a relationship is built with the community as the new school is constructed.