Beautiful Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

Wheatley calls on Governor to probe non-performing Crown leases

Wheatley calls on Governor to probe non-performing Crown leases

Former Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Vincent Wheatley, has urged Governor John Rankin to look into the issue of non-performing Crown leases, arguing that the current situation should not be allowed to continue.

The Ninth District Representative noted in a Facebook post at the weekend that he observed that the Harbour in North Sound on Virgin Gorda was now empty.

But Wheatley suggested that this was not always the case and said he could not help but wonder when the territory will ever see a mega yacht facility there again.

“Governor Rankin, please add this to your list of leases and Crown land transfers that the COI (Commission of Inquiry) should be looking into,” Wheatley said.

He added: “These are non-performing Crown leases signed by your office. This should not be allowed to go on any longer. This is wrong, wrong, wrong! And we are paying the price for it. Needs fixing now!”

What did you do about it?

Wheatley, however, faced some pushback for being the previous minister responsible for land and not rectifying the issue during his tenure.

“I am asking as former Minister responsible for lands, what did you do about this situation?” a resident quizzed.

“I am asking because I believe we are at a point in this country where your comment requires more substance and recommendations. Your comment requires focus and problem-solving solution,” Stephanie Faulkner added. “Your comment requires a level of maturity and focus. I believe the quicker we get away from “playing” victim politics, the quicker we can begin to develop the very country we know that we are and want to see. Time is up for playing mind games.”

In response, Wheatley denied playing games and suggested that he did what he could about the situation while in office. The former minister, who remains a member of the current unity government, said he now has to work on the situation from another angle.

When pressed by another resident for further details on the matter and why it may have been stalled, the former minister said persons should not get sidetracked on the issue.

“I am not sure that the intricacies of this situation would prove to be too helpful if known. What we do know is that a much-needed yacht club is not there,” Wheatley stated. “There are signed agreements with the Crown that says one should be there. Don’t get side track with the many red herrings out there. The Sound and the BVI needs the facility up and running according to the agreements.”

Tired of excuses

In the meantime, Territorial At-Large Representative Shereen Flax-Charles said she too has been an advocate for rectifying the situation, but with little progress.

“To be honest, I am tired of hearing that files are lost in government departments. It is a poor excuse,” Flax-Charles said. “I, too, have inquired about this situation for many moons only to be given excuses in the past.”

Flax-Charles said she was made to understand that the ‘land’ aspect has a different lease holder than the seabed, and said she has reached out to both the present Minister, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull as well as the Governor on the matter.

Flax-Charles further said she hopes for a resolution that will be beneficial to residents.


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