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Communication woes crippling tourism at Anegada

- Tourism Director to engage providers
The BVI Tourist Board team is spotted here at Cow Wreck in discussion with a business woman (tatoo on arm) concerning issues affecting her and the possibility of forming an association to help address some of the issues. Photo: VINO
Mrs Sharon Flax-Mars taking a look at one of the
Mrs Sharon Flax-Mars taking a look at one of the "ancient pieces" at the personal museum of Mr Wilfred M. Creque. Photo: VINO
The Proprietor of Big Bamboo, Anegada (right) having his moment with the Tourist Board Director during a guided tour of his guest house. Photo: VINO
The Proprietor of Big Bamboo, Anegada (right) having his moment with the Tourist Board Director during a guided tour of his guest house. Photo: VINO
Director of Tourism, Sharon Flax-Mars. Photo: VINO
Director of Tourism, Sharon Flax-Mars. Photo: VINO
The BVI Tourist Board team checking the Fisherman's landing at Anegada. Photo: VINO
The BVI Tourist Board team checking the Fisherman's landing at Anegada. Photo: VINO
A section of the garbage dump site at Anegada. Residents say the site needs better management and possibly relocating. Photo: VINO
A section of the garbage dump site at Anegada. Residents say the site needs better management and possibly relocating. Photo: VINO
SETTING POINT, Anegada, VI – Entrepreneurs, visitors, residents and even tourists at Anegada are calling on the telecommunication sector to urgently boost their services on the island as it was highlighted as one of the major challenges that limit economic and other activities there. The affected spared no bones in highlighting this concern to Director of Tourism, Mrs Sharon-Flax Mars.

“One item that was surprising for me to listen to today (Friday, February 22, 2013) is challenges with the telecommunication providers,” noted Mrs Flax-Mars. It was evident and a fact that the telecommunication carriers are committed to mobile/cell phone and internet services on the island. However, according to residents and tourists alike, both of the services are extremely "lousy". As it relates to the internet services, they are "anciently slow" while the signals for the mobile services are reportedly unacceptably low.

Various levels of communication were highlighted as lacking and responsible for the some of the snags in the tourism industry. This reportedly included the communication among Government entities, the Tourist Board and tourism partners. The reported communication challenges for tourists and residents alike was spotted as a serious concern.

“The trust is to see what’s good, what works what the challenges are, what the opportunities are and to work with the industry partners as well as the government industries to make sure that we are moving in the right direction," Mrs Flax-Mars told those concerned.

At the time, the Director and her team were on one of the promised sister island visits. When Mrs Flax-Mars had taken up the post as Director of Tourism some six weeks ago, she had made a promise that there were going to be regular visits to other islands that have a tourism base.

Virgin Islands News Online was on location when the concerns were being noted, however, for reasons of their own, those highlighting the problems they are experiencing, chose to speak through the Director of Tourism and her team as opposed to having their names mentioned.

“They are having problems with dropped calls and it is very important for the guests and the type of guests that we get to know that their communication would be seamless,” said Flax-Mars. Despite the peace and tranquility that propel the tourists to some destinations, their ability to keep connected with the outer world especially in the event of emergencies is critical, it was noted.

“They need to know if they need to get connected it can happen quickly, so we see that as an area where we maybe need to speak with the telecommunication providers and find out if there is a problem and if so what the problem is. That’s one of the areas we know that we definitely need to look at,” said the Director.

On the distaff side, it was observed that most of the businesses including the guest apartments did not have a presence on social media. In this regard the Tourism Director said that they would be looking at getting those businesses and attractions on the Tourist Board’s website and possibly setting up individual Facebook and other pages for them.

Among the other issues raised with the Director of Tourism and her team were that of access to the island, access to the tourism sites around the island by road, infrastructure, the disposal and management of garbage and the maintenance of the beaches.

On the other hand there were a number of areas that were spotted to be main pullers to boost tourism on the island, including in the area of fishing where fishermen bring in their catch and prepare them for market.

On a very high and positive note was the discovery of a resident and businessman’s development of a personal museum. Mr Wilfred M. Creque has been collecting artifacts from the age of 16 and today houses a wealth of history,  which he hopes will one day develop into a "proper museum". Mrs Flax-Mars expressed surprise at the wealth of personal collection and promised to make it one area for immediate attention.  

Mr Creque told this news site that most of the items were collected from various points across the island including the beaches. “Some of these thing were washed ashore and I, loving collections and artifacts, never allow them to escape my grasp.” Among the collection are coins dating back to 1800s, bottles dating back to 1698, U.S.M.C. ceramics manufactured in 1923 and older.  

“Again if there is an opportunity for the Tourist Board to work with Mr. Creque, as well as to involve the Ministry of Education and Culture and the College, I believe that can be a really interesting attraction on Anegada if developed properly,” Flax-Mars said. She also noted she was aware there was a collection on the island but did not know it was that extensive.

In the very near future the BVI Tourist Board will be adding to its staff fold, a product officer, who will be assigned specifically to the needs of Anegada and will be filling a void that was never filled in the past even though there is someone assigned to Jost Van Dyke. “Now by nature what Anegda is becoming and what their potential is, we need to do something for them as well."

To further develop the island, Mrs. Flax-Mars said it was noted that there is a dire need for the development of a partnership among the businesses at Anegada. This, she said, can be done through the development of a business association and hotel and restaurant association which can allow them to share ideas and further on, look at corporate advertising and marketing in conjunction with the BVI Tourist Board.

27 Responses to “Communication woes crippling tourism at Anegada”

  • Confucius (23/02/2013, 12:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yep, the high rollers who are going to visit Anegada to take advantage of the 5 start hotel and golf resort Doctor Pickering has planned, never need phone or internet access ~ so not to worry. It's nothing urgent. I'm sure the phone companies plan to "get on it" some day because the get so much income from Anegada.
    • ndp (23/02/2013, 20:11) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      But I thought the Liberator had all of this in the bag? You are saying this, along with water and other situations is a big lie too? Say it ain't so!
    • hollowe (23/02/2013, 21:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Please, for the sake of us all?
  • BREAKING NEWS (23/02/2013, 12:42) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    All the lip service from the new director still has not impress me. Until I see money in the budget to fund the sector then Dr. Smith, Russell and the rest are just a bunch of jokers
  • ----------- (23/02/2013, 13:16) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Mrs Sharon-Flax Mars you are off to a good start BAM
    • @ ----------- (23/02/2013, 15:05) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      That is true but the bigger question is; would Russell, Myron and Lorna allow the poor child to do her work without daily interference?
  • visitor (23/02/2013, 14:33) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    please increase the number of times ferries go to Anegada if even from Virgin Gorda and drop the price a little. Thanks.
  • Observant Anegadian (23/02/2013, 16:10) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    The businesses over here are always crying for help and attention! What about the regular civil servants, the unemployed, the people who are struggling to make a dollar on an island that offers sun, sand, and water but almost nil employment opportunities, no entertainment, little to no hope for the future? Let me tell you: the BVI tourist board, the government, the people of the BVI a few things about Anegadian business owners (hotel, restaurants in particular) - 1. Most of them have government connections and / or jobs, multiple plots of land and more than one business. 2. They usually have a high turnover due to overworking and underpaying staff. 3. The same telecommunication issues they are complaining about plague the rest of the residents as well so as far as being concerned about tourists, I agree that they need that luxury of being able to call home and stuff while on vacation (they pay enough to come here so that should be a given) but we, the locals who pay for phone, internet, cable, electricity on a monthly basis and only get partial service are the real losers in this game. 4. I quote 'To further develop the island, Mrs. Flax-Mars said it was noted that there is a dire need for the development of a partnership among the businesses at Anegada. LOL! I am sorry to break it to you madam but you obviously have not been affiliated with our business people over here long enough to know that it is a 'cut-throat' society. Small but dangerous are the adjectives I carefully select here. These business people stab each other in the backs countless times. They try to talk tourists out of going to certain businesses, they try to manipulate people into cancelling their reservations in order to get them to eat at their establishments, just ask the trade department about the number of complaints they get..... In conclusion, all I can say is that this is a sad day in the BVI when it takes a visit from the Tourist board to publicize the telecommunication woes that have been going on in Anegada for Lord knows how long. While we are on that subject.... what about the ferry services? That affects tourists and locals as well. Last week the regular morning ferry showed up and didn't have enough room so some locals and tourists were left standing on the dock. I saw one lady taking a picture of tourists sitting on the floor of the ferry because there were no seats left. People were standing in the doorway. Is this what government thinks of the people of Anegada? It is time for us, Anegadians to stand up and fight for our rights. We are being victimized in our own country. Price gouging, lack of medical facilities, poor telecommunication services (can't even get customer service reps on the phone half the time to report our issues, we have to transport our deceased on the back of trucks because the BVIHSA refuses to send an ambulance or pour any funding into this place. Disgraceful!!!! I thought ANEGADA was part of the Virgin Island territory..... why aren't we being treated that way?? Before you invest in large projects, before you focus all your energies on tourism, remember that residents are the ones who live here all year round, focus on our needs first and once we are satisfied we will be better abled to take care of the needs of those who visit.
    • IWONDER (24/02/2013, 10:26) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Observant seem rather intelligent, very perceptive and articulate, perhaps you should represent your people!
  • ausar (23/02/2013, 18:04) Like (6) Dislike (15) Reply
    "Observant Anegadian", thanks for your comments.

    However, isn't Ralphie your district representative?

    Why are you guys still suffering like this when the VIP has been in power for almost thirty years PRIOR to the NDP's administration?

    You should redirect your concerns to your representative or else vote him out next election cycle! Y'all must like it/Ralphie/conditions so, so decrepit conditions must, sadly, remain!
    • yellow (23/02/2013, 20:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      This may be a step in the right direction but as usual the government have serious difficulties with their polices and action.
    • golden retriever (23/02/2013, 22:45) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      It doesn't matter who the representative is if he or she does not live on the island to see first hand what is really going on. Yes, Ralph was and is still the representative but he has proven to be more approachable than the current premier in that at least he appears to hear what the people are saying. The sad part is that the majority aren't saying much. As far as voting him out, well, remember he did not get the majority vote in Anegada, it is Virgin Gorda that tipped that scale. Perhaps if we had our own district representative we would be paid a bit more attention. Furthermore, this seems like a futile attempt to cast the blame when the fact of the matter is both political parties have dropped the ball when it comes time for this sister island. When Hubert was running for the 9th district he surrounded himself with a select few and the rest of the people saw that. Only certain people (one or two families I should say) are told about NDP rallies and meetings, invited to their balls and festivities and so the rest of the island is left to wonder what choices do we all have. Representation based on this type of presentation is surely a reason to sigh.
  • ndp (23/02/2013, 20:10) Like (1) Dislike (21) Reply
    I thought Fraser fixed this? No wonder ooooo or his twin sister critic didn't respond. If it was a positive telecom story they would be all over here pushing up their chest/breasts lmao. Thank GOD for the Liberator!!!!
  • school children (23/02/2013, 22:00) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply

    First and foremost, the island has a socalled "District office" who shows up to work whenever time they fells like when they shold be there from 8:30 - 4:30 with 1 lunch hour and not two and half and then does not show up to collect the mail from the ferry. This so called "District Officer" is the Anegadian's link to all Government Offices. If they will do their work some of the issues will be dealth with. Secondly, if the business owners will stop throwing the garbage outside the gate then there will not have any problem. One of these days there will be an article with all the names on the business owners who throw their garbage outside the garbade dump infront of the gate. You all are always trying to bring down each other trying to better yourself but God do not slumber nor sleep and remember you all will reap whatever you all sow.

    • Huh? (24/02/2013, 20:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @school children.... learn to write properly.... I doubt a school child wrote this.
    • follow the leader (24/02/2013, 20:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Tun up D ting!!


    • @ School Children (26/02/2013, 11:01) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Everytime you post you seem to have some beef with the "District Officer". Maybe you should apply for the post. But with such obvious illiteracy, I think you need to stay in school.
  • Observant Anegadian (23/02/2013, 22:56) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    And I thank you for your comments but I must respond as follows: The problems outlined above need to be addressed by whomever is presently in government. One man is not to blame but the entire system. Anegadians need to first wake up and realize that we are all being jerked, well not all. Both NDP and VIP have their small cliques on the island to which they cling to for whatever reason (perhaps they get free lobsters who knows) but the issues I mentioned earlier are not going to go away unless someone addresses them promptly and professionally. It appears that those necessities are lacking for everything here happens slowly and well, not very professionally. People have a tendency to only act when the issue hits close to home. The fact is this.... NDP is in power, Ralph is our representative. They are all our (BVI) representatives and should be responsible enough to work together to solve the society's ills. Now you are focusing on Ralph being the representative but is that even relevant when we have a government in power that has made it clear that they have plans for Anegada? Sheep, solar farms, pumpkins, and so forth... did anyone hear them say they were going to check with the district representative (Ralph ) first to see what his opinions are on the matter? Oh, I thought not. So, let's not cast blame and start working towards the betterment of Anegada, the other sister islands and the BVI on the whole.
  • truthseeker (24/02/2013, 10:28) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    That picture of the ANEGADA DUMPSITE is misleading. It looks much worse than that on a daily basis
  • yellow love (24/02/2013, 14:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    just a trip for flax and her cronies to get out the office I will like to see the price the way where is Lynette?
  • new commer (24/02/2013, 15:23) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    It never ceases to amaze me the number of people that blame the Director for the failed tourist policy..first step she has no $$$$ to work with!!!!
    • ? (25/02/2013, 14:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

      Perhaps she needs to 'learn' to get 'creative' and develop revenues to pay some of the ridiculous salaries at BVITB along with covering the other expenses or better yet get rid of some of the many useless staff!
  • cherry (25/02/2013, 07:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    There should be a national budgets to maintain and improve the infrastructure (roads, water system, sewer system, medical system, and so forth) of the country (not just one island or district). The district rep should have a budget to assist the people of his district for improvement of roads, electrical poles, etc to their homes. These issues will continue if government do not implement a national budget to improve the infrastructure of the country. The street sweeeper should have been an ambulance for Anegada and the other islands who needed one. Where the firemen trained when the others were been trained last year? There is a need for more foresight. Not reactive action base on someone comment.
  • to observant Anegadian (25/02/2013, 21:42) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am pleased that there is someone on or from Anegada that can and has enlightened others via this forum about the woes of Anegadians. Your observations are ON POINT!!! Firstly, as with any other island nation, Anegada is not what Anegada used to be....i.e. consisting of native Anegadians working together for the betterment of the country. We have for a long time passed that and it is now even more so prevalent as 'dirty political games' have and continue to be played wherein families experience 'curry favor' resulting in the acquisition of more land than others, title deeds to property, government petty contracts and the like. Secondly in line with the 'curry favor', an elite few continue to plunder and rape the island's resources via VIP appointed 'Pops' who sanctions contracts based on what he can get from locals be it in many forms. He lives rent free in a government trailer and run the streets like a dictator.

    If we address the school and its facilities: only around election do you see work being done (as in any sister island) but what the children are lacking is a comprehensive curriculum. The opportunity to take on a skill in carpentry, computer science, arts, the sciences, etc are not offered so the children are not exposed as those on the mainland are. Look at the calibre of teachers: only a handful are truly teachers, have undergone the necessary trainings to become one and/or have the natural ability to do so. Again, others are given the job because of political affiliation. How does that profit the school children?

    Health care: non-existent basically and a joke.

    Banking: Once upon a time, a story was spun that a representative from the the Government Bank of the Virgin Islands would come up once a week to alleviate the expenditure of ferry fare just to conduct banking on Tortola. Another promise not kept and again, another one made during election time

    Land Issues: First Anegadians were allotted 2 acres, then 1, then 1/2 now 1/4. Many have several and those who are not Anegadians claim they are 14 generations removed and can get land because of who they know

    Tourism: Forget it. Observant Anegadian hit the nail on the head and I'm afraid drove it past the concrete structure! It's a joke. Too much in-fighting now coupled with the greedy investors taking over our land and rubbing shoulders with political party affiliates to get golf course etc on island. At least Mrs. Flax-Mars is doing what NO OTHER Tourism Director has done and that is come to Anegada and TALK to the people ON the island! For effort, I say thank you, it's a step in the right direction.

    I will reserve more for later. But to observant Anegadian, job WELL DONE in shedding the light on some of the bureacracy that goes on on this island.

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