In a meeting held with Anegada residents yesterday, October 24, Wheatley said while his commitment is to resolve the ongoing Anegada land debacle, he held some concerns.
“I was doing some research recently and what I saw I was totally appalled by because I don’t think — somehow, deep down I don’t think it was the intention of the ancestors of Anegada — that you should sell your land, and I’m seeing too much Anegada land on the open market and the prices are ridiculous.”
Wheatley suggested that continuing along this path likely meant that future generations would have no land left for themselves in Anegada.
“And the flavour of Anegada which, we cherish, I think would be lost,” he added.
The minister also disputed reports that he took kickbacks or sold Crown lands to anyone.
“So, don’t mind all the noise – people say that I sell land to get kickbacks, I take Crown lands and gave myself. Nonsense,” said Wheatley whose Ninth District also includes Anegada.
He said he upholds the law and was keen on always following process even if it meant sometimes feeling frustrated because things take so long.
He advised that once government makes land available, residents should use it for the intended purpose, which is to build.
Wheatley told the residents that building essentially has two consequences — it gives them a stake in their island and provides significant employment for others at the same time.
Wheatley said his job and his mission as minister was to empower persons through land ownership, a duty which he said he took very seriously.
The Natural Resources Minister said he intends to mirror the ongoing Joe’s Hill Housing Project — funded in part by the Social Security Board — throughout the entirety of the BVI.
The hour-long meeting held with residents was meant to address long-standing land issues, reportedly dating back to more than 50 years, in some instances.
The meeting also saw remarks from Premier Andrew Fahie, Health Minister Carvin Malone, Works Minister Kye Rymer, Deputy Speaker Neville Smith and Permanent Secretary in the Natural Resources Ministry, Joseph Smith-Abbott.