The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has paid tribute to former chief minister, tourism visionary and local cruise industry pioneer Cyril B. Romney by renaming the Tortola Pier Park in his honor. The BVI’s cruise facility was renamed Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park at an official ceremony held at the facility on Friday, February 15. The renaming is part of the Government of the British Virgin Island’s quest to pay homage to stalwarts of the community who have served in the upward development of the Territory.
Premier and Minister for Tourism Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE, in reflecting on Romney’s contribution, commented, “Most Virgin Islanders will agree that there is one name that is synonymous with the cruise sector in the BVI and that is the name Cyril B. Romney. He had a vision for the development of the cruise sector and was steadfast in seeing that vision through whether it was from the lofty seat of Chief Minister of these islands or as an astute businessman. Because of his dedicated efforts, we have a bustling cruise sector today with many services provided by locals who directly experience its economic benefits. I stand proud to be associated with what has been a long-deserved honor for Mr. Romney.”
In his role as chairman of the BVI Tourist Board, Romney initiated several strategies for promoting cruise tourism and was the visionary for the construction of a cruise pier and facility. As a businessman, he made significant investments in equipment and services to serve the needs of cruise and other guests; these investments included boats, yachts, buses and properties at Peter Island and White Bay, and Dolphin Discovery, a major attraction for cruise visitors prior to the 2017 hurricanes. Internationally, Romney was the face of the BVI at cruise sector meetings, such as Seatrade and FCCA Convention.
Minister for Communications & Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool said, “Today is a red-letter day in the BVI, as this stalwart and giant of a man has been honored in the renaming of the cruise pier and park of the Virgin Islands. There is no more fitting tribute to bestow on the man who I refer to as the Father of Cruise Tourism in the BVI and I am elated that his family can witness this public expression of thanks and appreciation by the people of the Territory.”
The Tortola Pier Park officially reopened in May 2018, following repairs from Hurricane Irma. The BVI expects more than 200 port calls and 400,000 passengers this season. As far as cruise lines, Celebrity Edge docked at Tortola in December for its inaugural voyage, while Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line have also returned.
Romney served as chief minister of the BVI from 1983 to 1986 and as a member of the legislative council from 1978 to 1995. He was also the first Virgin Islander to hold the post of financial secretary. He passed away on July 19, 2007, leaving a legacy of accomplishments in politics, tourism, financial and business services.