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What is the status of the private islands in the VI? - Doug Wheatley

- said the government should purchase the private islands & lease them back to Virgin Islanders
Talk show host Mr Doug Wheatley said no more islands should be sold to foreigners and leasing should be done instead. Photo: VINO
Buck Island, one of the privately owned islands in the Virgin Islands. Photo: Private Islands Online
Buck Island, one of the privately owned islands in the Virgin Islands. Photo: Private Islands Online
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Host of the radio programme, ‘3D Show’ on ZBVI 780 AM, Doug Wheatley has added his voice to the discourse on the issue of private islands being sold to foreigners.

According to Mr Wheatley, the government would make a good investment for the Territory if they purchased these languishing islands and lease them back to persons who are interested in them; however, the government did not act and now the islands are owned by foreigners.

“What is the status of the private islands in the Virgin Islands? We know that a number of persons own these islands but do we know anything else about the islands? Are there any police patrols going to these islands? Are there any checks on things that are happening on these islands? Is this a good thing or not?” said the social commentator.

‘Draw a line in the sand’

In response to the questions posed by Mr Wheatley, a caller explained that years ago, one of the private islands had to close down operations because of its deterioration. It was then suggested to the government to purchase it and lease it back to the Virgin Islands people. The government did not act and now there are complaints that outsiders are taking the islands away.

“As a result of the narrow mindedness and shortsightedness, the Virgin Islands Party and its leadership failed to do that and today, that very land is being sold for astronomical sums of money and we are still talking about why the islands are going away from us. We need to take action instead of just talking all the time. It is time for action.”

This drew a response from Mr Wheatley: “Just the other day, I hear somebody talking about Buck Island and the fact that, that too slipped through the fingers of persons here and so there has been a lot of damage being done in this regard and we probably can’t recoup from that but at least, we can draw a line in the sand and say, let’s not do anymore of that sort of thing.

He continued, “Let us not be shortsighted in these matters but let’s take the long view and see how we might be able to make use of these islands.”

Another concerned caller suggested that there should be a 99 year lease involving an actual pre owned sale, similar to that of the owner of Necker Island.

In agreement with the caller, the radio show host said that rather than selling the lands, leasing should be done instead.

Giving an example, Doug said, “Hong Kong was returned to China 20 years ago and that had been a lease arrangement between China and Great Britain and when the lease expired, Hong Kong went back. Some people said that, had China been a weaker country, the British would not have agreed to return Hong Kong but because China was a rising power, Britain backed down.

Some of the privately owned islands of the Virgin Islands include, Necker Island, Mosquito Island, Eustatia Island, Guana Island, Ginger Island, Peter Island, Norman Island, and Buck Island.

33 Responses to “What is the status of the private islands in the VI? - Doug Wheatley”

  • This tru (08/07/2017, 09:25) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    We have sold most of our birthrights and for tis our younger generations will suffer terribly. Good point on tis Doug.
    • Huh? (09/07/2017, 13:34) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
      The Islands were private before the sales to the present owners and are still private. Nobody had a birthright to the islands except the heirs of the owners.
      • Thinking ahead for generations to come (09/07/2017, 15:19) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Huh? Instead of wasting taxpayers money, Gov't can use that money to buy these lands from the private owners- Land Banks for Future Generations. Think ahead.
      • Land Banks (09/07/2017, 15:40) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        was and is the way to go for private land sales if our government truly cared, instead, we, more than likely, find them helping themselves to their private fill. Access given to them by us, the voters, without accountability.
      • Interesting (09/07/2017, 15:54) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        Reading these comments, I can really see, more closely, how our votes truly matter. Our votes without lack of accountability can be the life or death of us as a people. I am paying closer attention these days. Thanks Vino, as well as the other media outlets, for exposing our pressing issues.
  • foxy (08/07/2017, 09:27) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Both parties are to be blamed
  • We have been conned (08/07/2017, 09:31) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Out of these islands for 7 worthless pieces of silver and today we have nothing to show for it.
  • True (08/07/2017, 09:44) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    the government sold the islands but many locals sell prime land for a new flash car, to build their own house on another piece of family land. All land should only be leased not freehold, but be careful it is very easy to turn lease hold to free hold.
  • E. Leonard (08/07/2017, 10:18) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    On the one hand, individual(s) is, for the most part, entitled to do whatever he/she pleases with private property, including land. However, on the other land, sometimes the needs of the community should trump the desire of the individual. The BVI is a small locale of some 36 islands, rocks, islets......etc totaling about 59 square miles and with less than 20 being inhabited. Furthermore, land is non-renewable resource and must be protected and preserved for the use and quiet and enjoyment of current and generations yet unborned. At the rate at which land is being sold, pretty soon all current and future generations will only be able to either drive by, fly over, walk by or sail by and regrettably lament that their relatives once owned this or that piece of prime land that their fore parents shed blood sweat and toil to leave for them. The least we can do is let our foreparents rest peacefully. So what happened and what can we do to reverse the horrible trend?

    Plantation owners due to civil unrest, agitation, slumping sugar prices, hurricanes among other things beat feet out of the Virgin Islands. It was seen as desolate place and only good as a bird sanctuary. Our foreparents were left to endure hardships, working the land to eek out a living. To most, the land had little to no value; now it does. And outsiders are buying it up. Well, it is more like the owners are selling it up; keeping it real my family also sold some prime land. A regentrification of sorts is occurring, driving up the cost of land for locals.

    Moreover, land, especially islands, should be leased(lease hold), not sold(fee simple) (perhaps legislation should be put in place to ensure this happens). Further, a land bank (Doug suggested years ago) should be created. Let's save the land for current and future generations. Let's preserve our birthright. When land is sold fee simple, the land gone, money done, boat gone, car gone........etc; everthing dun.
    • RealPol (09/07/2017, 12:15) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ E. Leonard, real talk. But does anyone have the time to take pause and act, for most people are on daily hustle and not thinking of the long term consequences of inaction on critical issues. The VI will pay dearly for looking beyond critical issues. The chickens are starting to come home to roost. Land is indeed a non-renewable resource and the alarming rate at which it is being lost pretty soon Virgin Islanders will be strangers and resource-poor in their homeland akin to Mexicans in southwest USA, ie Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California.....etc. Land is the VI wealth and like health they better take preventive measures.
  • wize up (08/07/2017, 11:00) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
    Aks the Virgin Islands party alliance(don't pet vex at me because the selling of this islands started back then....historty don't lie!!!!!).....
  • Lawd-O (08/07/2017, 11:02) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    All these problems and challenges facing our country, who can unify us on one according to move our country forward?
    • @ Lawd-O (08/07/2017, 23:32) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      What is left then is the fact that it is now up to the people of the BVI to directly remove these politicians themselves and to establish a structure of government with check and balance (Garvey principles) instead of the current degenerate colonial parliament style of government that greatly contribute to the kind of society the BVI is today.
  • huh (08/07/2017, 11:11) Like (13) Dislike (7) Reply
    Lease them back to Virgin Islanders to do what? The same shit they did to wickhams cay after getting those leases?
  • silly sales (08/07/2017, 11:12) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    yep, and look at all the land being turned to crap on the islands not sold. turning into a rock and boulder quarry
    and undermining the hillsides to that they will collapse. look at that job off zion hill road. sadly its locals doing
    stupid things as much as foreigners who don't care. one big cemetary excavation. disgusting.
  • FYI (08/07/2017, 11:53) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Peter Island is not privately owned because the Smiths, Durants, Normans and Romneys own land over there.
    • RealPol (08/07/2017, 13:17) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      @FYI, true but most of it dun sell. Also Cooper Island is not privately owned but some of the best of it dun sell. Salt Island is another pepper pot that needs to be repopulated. Some 100 people use to call Salt Island home; today, 0.
  • Info (08/07/2017, 12:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can I get a phone number or email address for Mr. Wheatley. I'd like to discuss the article in more detail. Thank you
    • wize up (08/07/2017, 14:17) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
      @ info:can you say yellow pages!!!! Most of us discussing things in the past: some of us want to discusss a future for the people of the BVI: keeep on harping on the past: get up, stand up and rebuild what needs rebuilding send to the jail house who needs to spend a few years and let's all move forward in the name almighty God
  • Economics (08/07/2017, 12:58) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    the bvi NEEDS TO take measures to get some fairness in this to protect our own economy, as who owns the land owns the wealth
  • Trump (08/07/2017, 13:23) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    BVI People just getting so tired of loosing all the time now.
    • A VOTER (08/07/2017, 13:46) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      THE LAND.
    • wize up (08/07/2017, 16:04) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      @ trump: who we are loosing to becomes a very big concern and when you have to speak most begins the entitlement lever of conversation: good leaders looks out for their people: good leaders ensues their people are economically empowered.......
  • Johnny B (08/07/2017, 19:08) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Necker Island and Mosquito Island was once own by locals
  • John (08/07/2017, 19:26) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    This fricking man wize-up don't have any old fridge or AC to fix. Chut man!
    • wize up (09/07/2017, 08:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ John: I fell your pain and i will have your old fridge back to you by next week!!!!
  • trrefdrfds (08/07/2017, 20:23) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    Most of the outer islands and prime land was sold by local families not by govt.
    • pat (08/07/2017, 23:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      true. but it doesn't help that Government is waiting with an open hand for the transaction fee/ taxes. Little Thatch Island sold privately to another foreigner for $55 Mill and Government got almost $6 mill. They were also involved in allowing Victor International to buy oil nut Bay as an addition to Biras Creek and no one picked up on that.
    • nana (09/07/2017, 13:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      There was also no efforts made to educate the people about the value of their land and the best way of managing it. Still that way to this day. Maybe those in positions of influence to busy trying to get for themselves.
  • cuban rich w friends (09/07/2017, 13:15) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Them boys taking good care of their cronies jercky brason n johnsin
  • BVIslander (14/07/2017, 22:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I had planned to spend a day on the beach at Guana Island a few months back and was asked by the resort to not use the beach area near the resort and to not order anything from their beach bar, but the Government does not see anything wrong with this.

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