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‘Willy T’ to return to ‘The Bight' off Norman Island

- after being booted from its original location in 2018 & struggling to find a stable home
The legendary vessel that has a huge local and international following, the William Thornton aka ‘Willy T’, will be returning to The Bight off Norman Island. Photo: VINO/File
According to Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), after studying the matter very carefully Government has agreed that ‘The Bight’ off Norman Island is the best location for the Willy-T. Photo: GIS/File
According to Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), after studying the matter very carefully Government has agreed that ‘The Bight’ off Norman Island is the best location for the Willy-T. Photo: GIS/File
The original Willy T was severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 and is now a dive site. Photo: VINO/File
The original Willy T was severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 and is now a dive site. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- After over a year of being booted from its original location at The Bight off Norman Island and then kicked from its new location, Great Harbour, Peter Island, the legendary vessel that has a huge local and international following, the William Thornton aka ‘Willy T’, will be returning to The Bight.

This was announced by Government via a press release today, June 6, 2019.

Willy T will be back!

“The public is hereby notified that effective July 1, 2019, the ‘Willy T’ floating restaurant and bar will be relocated to its original location anchored off The Bight near Norman Island, following a decision by the Government of the Virgin Islands,” the press release stated.

The press release noted; however, that the relocation of ‘Willy T’ is dependent on the ability of the owners of the new vessel to meet various environmental, health and safety criteria.

“The ‘Willy T’ has been operating in the Virgin Islands for over 35 years providing a unique experience to visitors and locals alike, and has become a very important component of our tourism offerings. The Government of the Virgin Islands expects that the legendary floating restaurant and bar will continue to provide the same level of enjoyment as it has over the years, and for many more years to come in the Territory.”

Original Willy T now a dive site

According to Government, the original vessel, however, which was destroyed by the hurricanes of 2017, will continue to live on as an integral part of the Virgin Islands’ tourism offerings at its new location on the seabed serving as part of the Territory’s artificial reef system.

“This artificial reef system will also allow diving enthusiasts to continue to enjoy the ‘Willy T’ from an entirely new and different perspective.”

NDP Gov’t faced heavy criticisms over treatment of ‘Willy T’

The previous National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration had come under heavy criticism over what many labeled as unjust treatment of the legendary floating restaurant and bar.

In 2018 the ‘Willy T’, owned by Ms Heather L. Anderson, a Belonger of the Virgin Islands, with her husband Ewan C. Anderson, who manages the business, was forced from ‘The Bight,’ off Norman Island.

This was after they had invested some half a million dollars on a new boat after the original ‘Willy T’ was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

In an exclusive interview with our newsroom on May 11, 2018, Mr Anderson said he was called to a meeting with the then Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), and Honourable Archibald C. Christian (AL), the then Junior Minister for Tourism, where he was told that he had to find a new location for the Willy T because there was a “large development on Norman Island that does not want the Willy T in the bay”.

They had found a new home in Great Harbour, Peter Island, through an arrangement with the Romney family, one of four owners of Peter Island, and started the operation there on June 5, 2018.

However, in November of 2018, Mr Anderson related to our newsroom that the ‘Willy T’ was given until the end of December 2018, to vacate the location as the owners of Peter Island Resort & Spa, Amway Corporation, did not want them there and had “placed in writing their major objections.” 

Mr Anderson had also confirmed that the then Premier Smith, whom he went to, supported Amway’s’ decision for ‘Willy T’ to leave ‘Great Harbour’ on Peter Island.

The owners of ‘Willy T’ had said at the time they were considering all the options, including leaving the Virgin Islands for good.

‘The Bight’ best place for Willy T- VIP Gov’t

However, the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government has decided to allow ‘Willy T’ to relocate to its original location at The Bight, Norman Island.

Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) said, “The Marine Estate Policy confers the authority on the Crown and the Crown alone to decide how the seabed is to be used. After studying the matter very carefully we have agreed that this is the best location for the Willy-T”.

The various Government agencies responsible for health, trade and the environment will work with the owners of the Willy T regarding its transition back to its original location.

20 Responses to “‘Willy T’ to return to ‘The Bight' off Norman Island”

  • Xxx (06/06/2019, 15:38) Like (45) Dislike (6) Reply
    now this is a government that is not afraid of the rich white friends
    • Always with the racism? (06/06/2019, 16:31) Like (23) Dislike (4) Reply
      Why does everyone here always turn to the racist card? Do you even realise how bad that makes us look to the rest of the world. Image is kind of important when your two economic pillars are finance and tourism. Just saying. There are rich black people too, but you’re only interested in pointing out sticking it to the white man?
      • indeed (06/06/2019, 21:11) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
        Plenty of rich black Belongers, even. But I agree, the race card, the "I Bahn here" mentality, the denigration of outsiders no matter how much they may contribute to their community, the overt disdain for those from elsewhere, etc, is vexing, fatiguing, and retrograde. It takes work to hate people and things and leads to nothing but ill will. Why all the wasted effort?
      • wize up (07/06/2019, 03:38) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
        @ always with the racism: stop spreading rumours about my country: some fool might swallow the piss you on here presenting: in my country there are 100 different nationalities and to this day there was never a hate crime: go read what the muck is racism before degrading our territory: the owners of Willy T are Belongers to this territory: the owner of Norman Island is a Belonger: Arthur Hodge is probably one of first racist crimes in the BVI: although we might disagree no one in our territory is targeted with violence because of skin colour or race: some of you comes into our country and calls us all manner names(we this and we that...while in our country)..if you white you white; if you black u black; if you Asian you are Asian(big mucking deal)....
        • Racism (07/06/2019, 23:31) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
          @ wize up. Your country is my country, so what are you talking about? Your narrow minded ignorance is the problem I speak of. It’s always white man this or down islander that. If you think that there is no problem with racism in the BVI then you have been living under a rock.
          • wize up (09/06/2019, 15:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
            @ Racism: there is vast difference between racism and someone expressing their opinion on a particular subject matter(it is simply a matter of perspective): some of my best friends and business associates are non-blacks likewise some of my best friends and business partners are non-white: you here discriminating because you live in some rental apartment: new-flash(MOFO) all the rocks I have been live under I own all of them: therefore I take Extreme pleasure and move from rock to rock without fear or favor
            continue to keep the faith and it’s only people blogging their opinion no need to get bent out of shape(it is all love!!)
    • True (06/06/2019, 20:59) Like (38) Dislike (1) Reply

      Jeraki never wanted the Willy T to move that was all L****a Smith , she was the one who pushed for the resort Jeraki has no wish to build and will never be built, Norman Island was bought as a reserve and will remain so...Welcome home Willy T

      • wize up (07/06/2019, 09:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ True: thank you(u know the ting) always remember the truth is an offence but the truth will never be a sin(A+ Commentary) don’t mind the noise !!!!
  • justice (06/06/2019, 16:28) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) said, “The Marine Estate Policy confers the authority on the Crown and the Crown alone to decide how the seabed is to be used. After studying the matter very carefully we have agreed that this is the best location for the Willy-T”.

    After all, been operating in VI for over 35 years ... Justice must reign for ALL Justice must reign for ALL Justice must reign for ALL ...
  • HAHAHA (06/06/2019, 16:46) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
    Awesome news love the new Govt. Everyone knew Jerecki and Orlando were busom buddies. Take this Jerecki!!!!!! Lol. Go Willy T Best news in a long long time. Love the new Govt!!!
  • lodger (06/06/2019, 17:04) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hooray!
  • VIPLease! (06/06/2019, 18:01) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now that you've got the Willy T sorted out, can you please get
    the Bomba Shack back?!


  • Sax (06/06/2019, 18:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great.. U working Sax
  • tiger (06/06/2019, 18:29) Like (2) Dislike (10) Reply
    Maybe now he going to clean he damn mess still toss on the shore in Norman That old hull been there way to much time. No respect sir.
    • Truth (06/06/2019, 21:01) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      CAN YOU READ? Look at the article it tells you whats happening with the Old Willy T or did you just come to give some abuse...
    • Shamona (06/06/2019, 21:29) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you read the article it says that the old willy T is now becoming a dive site so sounds like it will getting cleaned up
  • love it! (06/06/2019, 22:35) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Love this new government. Hope the owners of Willy T appreciate this. Well done premier Fahie and team.
    • Willy t (07/06/2019, 06:20) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      How could we ever not appreciate this? We are beyond grateful for the support of our new Government!
  • apple pie (07/06/2019, 03:20) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    A government for the people, thank god we chase the wicked non caring NDP from power
  • Jeze (07/06/2019, 11:50) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    L**na Sm**h was be drinking herself crazy on this. Take that old gyal.



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