Beautiful Virgin Islands

Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

Paraquita Bay farmland squatters ‘have to be removed’- Premier

Paraquita Bay farmland squatters ‘have to be removed’- Premier

Persons who are utilising land at Paraquita Bay other than for agricultural purposes will be removed, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said.

“They have to be removed, absolutely,” Premier Wheatley stated when questioned on the issue at a press conference today, January 23, 2023.

The flatland at Paraquita Bay was intended for agricultural purposes; however, persons have been building permanent structures, including homes.

Persons who are utilising land at Paraquita Bay other than for agricultural purposes will be removed, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said.

Standard leases

According to Dr Wheatley, some months ago a committee was put in place to manage the lands at Paraquita Bay.

“And one of the tasks I gave them was being able to come up with standard leases. For everybody who on Paraquita Bay, and everybody who has a standard lease for land they have to adhere to the conditions to that lease.

‘No squatting will be tolerated’- Premier

“And one of those conditions is that it has to be used for agricultural purposes. No squatting, whatsoever, will be tolerated.”

The Premier, who has the portfolio for Agriculture, said the process; however, has gone a lot slower than he would have liked.

“And the PS is here and she can tell you oftentimes I am pulling out hair, hair that I don’t have, wondering why it can’t go more quickly."

He said he was, nevertheless, satisfied that Government is moving in the right direction regarding the issue of misuse of farmlands at Paraquita Bay.

“We had a meeting, I think it was about two weeks ago, and they updated me on their progress and I made it clear under no uncertain terms that I need that standard lease and I need everybody who is on Paraquita Bay to be on a lease.

“Because we have to be accountable how we use the precious resource of land, especially given the fact that we have a scarcity of flatland in the Virgin Islands and food security is a priority for us,” Premier Wheatley stated.

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