Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Virgin Islands Party (VIP) District Nine candidate, Mr. Vincent Wheatley says that in order to develop and transform the district, partnerships with corporate bodies need to be established, and easy land-ownership for the locals need to be made possible.
During his official launch in North Sound, Virgin Gorda, last night, February 10, the former Sister Islands Coordinator stated, “I think the time is now to make a change, to re-engage our corporate partners. The time is now for this community, working hand-in-hand with Government and our corporate partners to transform this district. It doesn’t need to look like this.”
Mr. Wheatley told those gathered that the VIP is proposing to establish a “special development fund,” saying, “You know we send a lot of taxes from this side of the BVI to the other side. A lot of money go down there. This fund is going to be designed to capture some of that fund.”
“It’s a fund so that Government, along with businesses and landowners can pay into it or the development, for the specific development of this community,” he continued.
The money in this fund, he explained, will be used to finance projects such as district clean up and beautification initiatives.
He pointed to the current state of the district, highlighting that there are parks and other recreational facilities that need to be built, harbours to develop, affordable housing programmes to initiate, and a library to be built, among others.
“This fund is going to make that possible,” he declared, later adding, “These funds will not be in the hands of any Government or any politician.”
The fund, he told, would be managed by a District Council.
The aspiring District Representative turned to the issue of home and land ownership, which he said is also a barrier to the development of the people of the sister island.
Motioning to his surroundings, he told his listening audience that the lands around North Sound were once all owned by residents of Virgin Gorda, but were later sold out of the necessity to see them developed.
Unlike Necker and Mosquito Islands, he questioned, “How much has the North Sound community benefited from all these developments and lands that previously belonged to us?”
In a passionate address, he said, “We have to establish land committees once more. We have to free the land up for our young people…We must look to build a future for generations to come.”
Mr. Wheatley further declared, “We have to take back control of our lands, we have no choice. Some of us cannot own lands in our own country. The price is so high that you cannot afford to buy it and I think that is very wrong.”
The issue of land and home ownership are among his top priorities, he noted, and in order to address this, he plans to re-establish the Lands Committee.
“We are going to reestablish those Lands Committee. We are going to tweak the rules a little bit, but we are going to make it work for our people,” he affirmed.
He vowed that he is not there to make “pie in the sky promises.”
“I can’t say, because I am not that arrogant, that I have all the answers. But, I do know that working together, we will sort it out because where there is a will, there is always a way,” Mr. Wheatley stressed.