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Prospect Reef & a grand vision for the Virgin Islands

May 19th, 2018 | Tags: Dickson Igwe Prospect Reef Climate change
Dickson Igwe. Photo: VINO
Dickson Igwe

Simple location and geography state that Prospect Reef, a Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated marina and resort, sitting on a spectacular and picturesque shoreline of Road Town, Capital of Tortola, [British] Virgin Islands, is one of the best locations in the Caribbean, to build a Nautical and Ocean Sciences College.

A Virgin Islands-based nautical and ocean sciences college, fully integrated into the wider education and learning system, will enable the country to pursue a seafaring and maritime culture and future.

A College of the Oceans will drive a sustainable ecosystem. Pursuing a pristine Virgin Islands geography is critical to protecting and leveraging the environment in the direction of an eco-centric, maritime-oriented economy. Appropriate learning alone will drive a pristine geography critical to the future of the Virgin Islands society and economy. 

A seafaring and oceanography college will further integrate with critical environmental projects, from recycling, and renewable energy, to organic farming and ecotourism: a magnet that pulls all the facets of a new vision into one workable whole. A college at Prospect Reef has the space to house relevant government departments such as Tourism, Education, HLSCC Links, Conservation and Fisheries, and the National Parks Trust.

Now in a previous article, this Ocean Safety, and Swimming Instructor, stated the obvious. There is no vision and prosperous future for these Virgin Islands without an appropriate learning culture. A new learning paradigm alone will lead to the vision of where the country wants to be in 30 years hence.

And if that vision is a Virgin Islands that is driven by an ecology-focused, nautical narrative, then the physics, chemistry, and biology of marine systems, and the study of the physical and biological properties of the seas is central to that vision.

With all the chatter about "climate change," the ocean plays a central role in the climate system, weather variables, and climate change narrative. The seas regulate the oxygen, carbon, and heat, in the environment.

Studying the oceans offers knowledge on water temperature, salinity, ocean circulation, currents, waves, tides, climate variability, meteorology, marine biology, and energy dissipation.

There is no nautical culture and commerce, without knowledge of the seas. There is no boating and shipping economy without an understanding of ocean science. The knowledge of the ocean is critical to these Virgin Islands in a new era of social and economic change. 

The country’s financial services industry is under global attack. Then September 2017 exposed the hurricane and flooding vulnerability of the Virgin Islands from global warming that is driving up sea temperatures, and melting the polar ice caps, leading to rising seas.

OK. One of the great ideas offered by politicians at the last General Election was the establishment of a maritime school in the Virgin Islands. This was to be a learning ecosystem, both vocational and academic, a learning community where Virgin Islanders, residents, and even foreign students, gather, to camp, swim, sail, canoe, beehive, and learn, all aspects of the nautical sciences, to certificate, diploma, and first-degree level.

Incorporated into the nautical school would be a science school, nautical college, boatyard, hotel, resort, marina, and a culinary and tourism school, even to include an aeronautical school, with flight simulators for aspiring pilots.

At the time the idea appeared "farfetched." Today, with Prospect Reef a "vast ruin" the idea requires a second look.

Training and schooling a new generation of Virgin Islands citizens for a major shift in the economic culture, from a financial services narrative, to a culture that is vocational, outdoors, ecotourism based, environmentally driven, and maritime, requires a radical shift in the national learning culture.

There is no better site for this than Prospect Reef. Prospect Reef must become the core of a brand new learning ecosystem: a learning culture that will drive the rest of the new Virgin Islands economy. Foreign investors with an interest in a maritime economy should be invited and involved in what will be a potentially billion-dollar ecotourism, maritime, and Ocean Sciences College and development.  

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2 Responses to “Prospect Reef & a grand vision for the Virgin Islands”

  • 123 (19/05/2018, 13:27) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    another good read
  • Wize Igwe (19/05/2018, 14:16) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is such a forward-thinking visionary idea, but hasn’t another, possibly “behind the veil,” NDP circle arrangement, similar to the BVI Airways deal to build a 5-Star Hotel at that location, already been inked with “Arab” money partners? Reversing their arrangement could cost our taxpayers’ millions again in breach of contract, going and coming. Do you think this one can fly?

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