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Ghuts must be better managed- Richard C. de Castro

- said the practice of placing boundary points in the middle of ghuts should discontinue
A ghut in Cane Garden Bay. Talk show host Richard C. Dr Castro has called for better management of ghuts. Photo: VINO
Co-hosts of the Speak Your Mind show on JTV Channel 55, John Lewis (left) and Richards C. de Castro. Photo: Youtube
Co-hosts of the Speak Your Mind show on JTV Channel 55, John Lewis (left) and Richards C. de Castro. Photo: Youtube
A ghut that runs through Ballast Bay on Tortola. Photo: VINO
A ghut that runs through Ballast Bay on Tortola. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A suggestion has been made for lawmakers to consider changing the “situation” in the Virgin Islands where surveyors who demarcate land put boundary points in the middle of the ghuts.

One of the hosts of the Speak Your Mind show last night, September 10, 2016 on JTV Channel 55, Richard C De Castro, said there is no definition of the ghuts and in that case, if one’s land boundary's with the ghut, their boundary is in the ghut, and allows that person to do basically what they please with that area of the ghut.

He opined that the issue of preserving ghuts needs to be managed on a national level.

“I think it needs to be put in law because it needs to be managed and you cannot manage something that you don’t have. We have the ghuts, they are not going anywhere, some of them are considered dry ghuts, some of them are real ghuts that come down from time to time, but the management of it has to be defined and it has to fall under somebody, and somebody has to be responsible,” he said.

Common sense

“Even if you don’t put it into law, it is just common sense,” John Lewis, the show’s co-host added. 

The call for legislation stemmed from concerns raised by Lewis of builders stripping off “a whole acre of land” which could be problematic, however, the territory has been fortunate to not have intense rains which could result in all the loose top soil ending up in the harbour.

Lewis pointed out that there needs to be an earth change permit process by the Town and Country Planning Department and while he was quick to point out that he has no difficulties with persons cutting their land, when it is done that way the land becomes exposed and “it’s not good.”

It was noted that in many instances contractors undertake those earthworks over the weekend when the Planning Officers are not at work and reasoned maybe these Inspectors should also be working over the weekend when these things take place.

Lewis, who is a former United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Planner, suggested that the ghuts should be periodically cleaned and the vegetation must be left alone since it slows down the action of the water and reduces the runoff from the hillsides.

12 Responses to “Ghuts must be better managed- Richard C. de Castro”

  • watching (11/09/2016, 12:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Very good point but I am afraid donkeys will fly first
  • wize up (11/09/2016, 13:10) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    this place filled with "talk show" experts: why can't all of these talk shows guys get together and form a political because them full of advice while sitting behind those microphones(Monday morning quarterbacks).....keep the faith
    • yea (11/09/2016, 15:04) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Wize up, good idea. If they do, that will be a powerful political team. They should consider it.
  • Ting Tong (11/09/2016, 13:12) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Now that's far too logical, it'll never be considered!
  • Strupps (11/09/2016, 13:19) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    When he waz at pwd he did nothing now he on vino chatting
    • wize up (11/09/2016, 13:42) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ strupps....you understand this thing because the majority of them on TV and Radio hosting these talk shows were in positions to build a better community but did nothing now have the most advise to give
  • vincy (11/09/2016, 14:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    While it is fair to be skeptical of leaders who exhort strength as a central characteristic (these people too often cross over into being bullies) we do need a leader who can withstand the rigors of office, now go talk that!
  • Slackness (11/09/2016, 14:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    They need to stop concrete truck drivers from dumping waste in Huntum's Ghut. In the afternoons, you can always see them pouring waste into the Ghut SMH
  • Surveyor (12/09/2016, 11:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    It seems that Mr. DeCastro did not actually talk to a surveyor or anyone from the Town Planning Department before making comments like this. Boundary points are placed in the centreline of the ghut when the survey records show the centre of the ghut as being the registered boundary line. This is actually very common and shown on the Data Sheet from the Cadastral Registration. Go to the Survey Department and look on any Data Sheet.
    If a persons property boundary as per the Cadastral Registration extends to the centreline of the ghut, you cannot simply move that boundary to the edge of the ghut. You'd be thieving their land. If a person owns 1 acre (which is 43,560 square feet) up to and including the centreline of the ghut lets say its worth $100k. If you move that boundary as proposed to the edge of the ghut their land becomes smaller and worth less. Who is going to agree to that? Your suggestion is to steal land from the people? Land is valued per square foot/acreage. If you reduce the square footage the land its worth less and no one is going to willingly agree to do that.
    The Ghuts are protected by Town Plannings ghut reserves. When a subdivision is conducted there are setbacks from the centre line of the ghut to create a 'ghut reserve' and no building construction can take place within the reserve. So, no it does not allow a person to do as they please within the ghut area. Yes, this was not common practice years ago, but Town Planning have had a policy of ghut reserves for many years now to address this.
  • @surveyor (12/09/2016, 14:11) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr DeCastro did exactly what you said since he started building his house in fahie hill. Up to last year I called Town and country, Pwd., survey and Ddm to complain him. But to date nobody came.
    • Rogers (12/09/2016, 16:00) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Slander could land you in jail. Hiding behind a blog may not save you.
  • E. Leonard (13/09/2016, 14:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Rivers, streams, ghuts.......etc are formed by nature to collect runoff from land and transport it out to sea or into lakes or other bodies of water. In the BVI's case, ghuts collect runoff and discharge it into the sea. Ghuts play an important role in preventing flooding and their paths should not be blocked without creating an alternate path. Blocking the ghuts path out to sea results in flooding.

    Consequently, ghuts should be managed by government but you manage effectively what you can control. To manage ghuts, government must control them, for the most part. In regards to the ownership issue, government should buy out the acreage needed to take ownership of the ghuts. In addition to the ghut, a maintenance strip is needed along at least the reach of one bank for performing maintenance.

    Moreover, in order for ghuts to function as design or as formed by nature, they must be put on a periodic cleaning schedule, including removing trees; major cleaning should occur after a heavy rain. Some vegetation or grass may be needed in the stream to control flow and for filtering. Erosions must also be repaired. Some grading and sedimentation should occur. At some locations, some box culverts/popes will need to be installed and portions of ghuts covered over. However, the covered ghuts will also need to be inspected and cleaned periodically.


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