Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Feb 06, 2023

Paraquita Bay farmlands have been managed very poorly - Premier

Paraquita Bay farmlands have been managed very poorly - Premier

Farmlands at the government-owned Paraquita Bay location on Tortola have not been governed as they should over the years, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has suggested.
Dr Wheatley was asked at a recent press conference whether there were lands available for lease to other persons, but the Premier suggested that the systems currently in place to allow for this need to be revamped.

“We often get questions from quite a number of persons about farmlands and I would say to you that our farmlands up until this point, particularly at Paraquita Bay, have been managed very poorly,” Premier Wheatley said.

He added: “There hasn’t been a proper process in place to ensure any level of accountability in terms of the use of the plots and even a transparent process to even be able to receive a plot. So it’s been very poor.”

According to Premier Wheatley, the government is seeking to implement a transparent, fair and accountable process for persons to be able to apply and be awarded plots for which they will need a lease.

Dr Wheatley said the lease will allow farmers to be held accountable in terms of how they should conduct themselves on those particular plots.

As with any lease, plot owners will be required to pay some amount of money, but Premier Wheatley did not give any indication of how much funds will be required to lease any given plot of land.

In the meantime, a land management committee led by Dr Harlan Vanterpool was put in place for the Paraquita Bay location, Dr Wheatley said.

The Premier also noted the Cabinet will soon approve an official process that will provide farmers with the legal certainty they require to continue confidently farming the land in that area.

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