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Where is the historic sloop Vigilant? Gone in the trash!

-25 foot wooden boat now trash, debate looms on her value or accuracy of its history
The famous Tortola sloop 'Vigilant' before it was grounded. Photo: pinterest
Former H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) consultant and Board Member, Dr Janet B. Smith has been interim President since 2016. Photo: VINO/File
Former H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) consultant and Board Member, Dr Janet B. Smith has been interim President since 2016. Photo: VINO/File
Many have claimed that the college has now become political especially when it comes to appointing board members since the college has moved under the leadership of Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture. Photo: VINO/File
Many have claimed that the college has now become political especially when it comes to appointing board members since the college has moved under the leadership of Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture. Photo: VINO/File
PARAQUITA BAY, Tortola, VI- Controversy appears to be continuing around a 25-foot wooden sloop named Vigilant that some claim was the oldest wooden boat in the Caribbean.

Since the mid-1990s the boat in deplorable conditions with little or no attention paid to it was housed at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Paraquita Bay on Tortola.

Then came Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 and the shed where the sloop was kept, in the area next to the Applied Marine Science building was demolished, along with what remained of the wooden boat, that if you believe the history was built in 1882 by a Willie Penn.

Who to believe on the history of the Vigilant?

There were already growing debates by historians at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College along with local boat captains from the community and others from the region about the value of the Vigilant and the accuracy of its history.

Two College Board Members speaking to our newsroom on condition of anonymity said: “The sloop was thrown out a few weeks ago as part of the cleanup efforts of the college, and how come those who now see her value did nothing to restore or preserve the boat?”

Another board member said, “It’s much to do about nothing, the boat is gone and some senior members are playing politics to get at Dr Angel Smith who has challenged some of the so-called history being taught at the college.”

The Board member did not single out anyone. Dr Smith, the head of the Virgin Islands Studies Institute, was recently appointed by the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) Board Chairman, Dr Charles H. Wheatley, to spearhead the restoration and cleanup of the college following the hurricanes of 2017 that demolished the college, leaving roofs off, windows and doors broken and many important documents destroyed due to flooding.

College has declined; Too much politics

Since 2014 the local community college, a statutory body, has been struggling with lack of funding from the Dr D. Orlando Smith Administration and enrollment, along with an exodus of locals.

The college a few years ago was moved from under the Premier’s Office and placed under the Ministry of Education and Culture where Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) is the minister.

Many claimed that was a bad move, as the college has now become political especially, in terms of senior appointments and Board Members.

In 2016, Hon Walwyn forced out college President Dr Karl Dawson, an indigenous Virgin Islander who spent some 24 years at the college in various capacities.

Currently, former HLSCC consultant and Board Member Dr Janet B. Smith, who is in her late 70s, has been interim President ever since.

23 Responses to “Where is the historic sloop Vigilant? Gone in the trash!”

  • one eye (01/04/2018, 21:06) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thing to tell the king!
  • Ohhh! (01/04/2018, 21:26) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    Nooo. Why? Dismantling of our history is of course- exhibiting “No Respect” for our past. Who we are as a People is being gradually erased slowly and surely to be replaced with a diluted version that will only further weaken our self-esteem and pride for whence and how we came to be as a People. SelfMade Destruction: accidental, deliberate, or by designed.
  • Absolutely (01/04/2018, 21:30) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
    No one is paying attention to what we are allowing to happen to us. No respect for our ancestors sweat and tears. Jesus wept. Lost generations to come.
    • @ absolutely (01/04/2018, 21:45) Like (20) Dislike (4) Reply
      what history? Mark say we need the money not history so go figure
      • @@absolutely (01/04/2018, 22:14) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
        Some of our politicians have allowed greed to overcome their common-sense. Their prayers maybe only about getting their hands on more and more and more towards theirs and others destruction. Look at where we are today. One said that we have become “professional beggars,” go figure.
    • Well said (01/04/2018, 22:03) Like (20) Dislike (1) Reply
      To Absolutely and oh no. We need absolute change all through and all around - starting with all those political leaderships and passing through all their administrations- removing all positioned cronies and associates. It’s time for the next generation to start pushing back rigorously. Poor standards all around our BVI. Time for Change for Real.
    • pete (01/04/2018, 22:44) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
      it's called demolition by neglect. Many people have been crying to protect history including saving main st and the post office area. But big money has other ideas. People come to see history and learn about surroundings. Many today take that for granted and neglect history. throwing away the boat and what craftsmanship can tell us? tearing down the wooden houses for oversized ugly concrete houses with big concrete parking lots? uprooting old palm trees for bigger buildings? It is all part of the same disrespect and demise of history.
  • back off (01/04/2018, 22:41) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    if Angel is their target they on boy lol
  • Truth (01/04/2018, 23:50) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    I agree big mistake putting the college under funny man its about to collapse
  • @ @ @ @ (02/04/2018, 00:51) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    So the old lady never going Go home to make room for young people to lead the college?
  • Archivist (02/04/2018, 04:33) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    Some history lost, more history being created. As a finance centre BVI may soon be history as it tumbles down the Global Financial Centre Index. And what is being done to stop it!
    http://www.longfinance.net/Publications/GFCI23.pdf
  • Interested (02/04/2018, 07:56) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    Who says that The Vigilant was built in the 1800,’s.
    I knew her as a sailing sloop in Sea Cows Bay.Never heard anyone said she was that old !
  • voter (02/04/2018, 10:49) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Just wake me up when the NDP IS HISTORY
    • @ voter (03/04/2018, 12:19) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      sorry you have a long sleep Willock and Fahie is only 2 you need 7
  • Forbidden Truth. (02/04/2018, 15:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    When you cannot trace your blood relatives on either side of your family in your Virgin Islands roots, it's a cause for concern if that individual/s give a darn about VI history. Money is not all. And it seems a though some have been blindsided when the need becomes a GREED.
  • Favourite cousin (02/04/2018, 17:46) Like (10) Dislike (5) Reply
    I have full confidence in Dr. Smith’s judgement . He is well researched and has the genuine interest of keeping Virgin Islands history alive. I will go as far to say he may be the only one consistently chronicling our history and relating it to contemporary issues. Please let’s not involve him in any comese.
    • @ favourite counsin (02/04/2018, 22:01) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      Hope you mean angel as remember the other Lady Smith the first daughter fighting against Angel too
    • Hmmm (03/04/2018, 13:11) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      Wondering whose solo decision it was to call a removal truck and send it to the dumpster with a catalogued cultural relic. Would an Angel do that?
    • Gabriel (03/04/2018, 15:24) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      That Angel without wings is Mr Comes himself.
      PTSD is on some of us but just my opinion.
      Is there a doctor in the house?
  • ta ta (02/04/2018, 19:01) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thanks for this vino but there is more in the mata
  • Diplomat (03/04/2018, 12:02) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Green back is the new culture. Culture, customs, , courtesies........etc is dead in the VI. At best, there is lukewarm appreciation for VI culture, customs, courtesies...etc. The emergence of the green back is the precursor to degradation, downfall of the BVI. So goes culture so goes the VI. What is the real story of the Vigilant? Where is she now? Is she already in the dung heap? Are there anyone around that can build replicas?
  • Hahahaha! (05/04/2018, 16:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What an ironic and apropos metaphor for where we're heading.


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