Residents of Virgin Gorda (BVI) were given the opportunity to learn more about the Tortola Pier Park Limited Public Offering through Placement Agent Mr. Clarence Faulkner who delivered a special presentation to the group at the Catholic Community Centre last evening.

Mr. Faulkner is leading the charge in educating the public about the public offering by sensitising residents on investment benefits and risks. He first explained that the offering is being done through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with the sole purpose of financing the Cruise Pier and Landside Development.

The placement agent said that the SPV is different to other investment opportunities that were offered in the past because persons are investing in tangible assets, can own real shares, and are being offered incomparable rates of return.

The SPV offer is categorised by Class A, B and C Preference Shares with annualised returns at 5.75 percent, 6.75 percent and 8.45 percent, respectively. Following the same order of the different classes of shares (A, B and C), preference shares will be automatically redeemed after seven (7), ten (10) and fifteen (15) years.

Mr. Faulkner’s presentation also highlighted the impact cruise tourism has had in the region, accounting for 37-percent of cruise itineraries, and leading to major port developments in recent years.

According to Mr. Faulkner, more specifically in BVI, 3,300 jobs are directly related to travel and tourism, and said research findings from the ‘World Travel and Tourism Council 2014 BVI Impact Report’ shows that total contribution of travel and tourism is forecast to support 9,000 jobs by 2024. He shared that this is good news as the industry will grow through the cruise pier development, with an anticipated 650,000 cruise passengers for the 2015-2016 season.

Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Mr. Claude O. Skelton Cline also spoke at the meeting, giving residents an update on the project. He said that the pier is

55% complete with over 100 piles already driven. Mr. Cline also said that all of the piles for the landside were driven and foundation work has already started on two of the buildings.

The managing director shared a tidbit of a conversation he had with the President of Disney Cruise Line Mr. Karl L. Holz who said that one of the reasons why Tortola is so important for the cruise industry, is that the BVI is one of the only remaining ‘virgin territories’ in the region.

In talking about the public offering, Mr. Cline said, “BVI is the envy of the region and we are encouraging belongers to harness opportunities so that we will be good stewards of this Territory, and so that our children can be the beneficiaries in the future, of what we establish today.”

He said that the Cruise Pier and Landside Development is one of the best things that is happening to BVI at the moment with opportunities in either becoming an investor through the SPV, owning a business at Tortola Pier Park, or creating ancillary businesses that add value to BVI cruise tourism.

At the close of the meeting, residents got their questions answered, voiced their concerns, and received packages that included the SPV Prospectus and application form.

Tortola Pier Park Limited began issuing preference shares in the first of three Series on October 13, which will close on November 28, after which Series Two will officially open on December 1.