The Virgin Islands government may have found a way to acquire the Toad Hall Estate property without having to fork out any cash to the company that owned the area.
This is according to Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley who gave the update on the matter at a press conference with the local media on Friday. In late 2019, the Cabinet – then led by Andrew Fahie
– approved the purchase of 5.5 acres of real estate located within The Greater Baths National Park.
The purpose was for the expansion of The Baths on Virgin Gorda. The government had announced the planned acquisition was an investment that should see prosperous results in the environment and tourism product of the territory.
Nearly three years later and the process is not complete. However, with the passing of the owner of the property, the Premier said the government has discovered a legal process that returns the land to the government.
“I had the benefit of having a discussion with the former minister for Natural Resources, Labour & Land Honourable Vincent Wheatley and of course, Toad Hall is in his constituency in the Ninth District and just as a means of an update, of course, Honourable [Melvin] Turnbull wouldn’t have had the benefit of that particular update as yet. We discovered when seeking to purchase Toad Hall that it was actually owned by a company that had gone – that’s been struck off and therefore, we actually had to go through a process, a legal process, of having it returned to the government of the Virgin Islands
without actually having to pay any money at all,” the Premier said.
“It was owned by a company that was struck off and when those companies are struck off, generally, they returned to the government for where the company was registered and considering it’s an asset in the BVI. A legal process is ongoing right now and should be completed shortly,” Dr Wheatley added.
The Premier was asked by a member of the local media whether the government planned on compensating the direct family of the deceased owner as the negotiation process dragged on for a long time. It was during that time that the owner died.
“Well, considering your question, it seems to be a legal matter. And I’d probably just caution myself from answering. But certainly, perhaps that’s something that privately they can discuss with the Minister for Environment and with the ministry and the Attorney General’s chambers,” Dr Wheatley answered.