Premier Accused Of Double Standard On Beef Island Development

Esther Durand, Journalist
April 20, 2021 9:21 am AST
Esther Durand, Journalist | April 20, 2021 9:21 am AST
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(Photo Credit: File )
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(Photo Credit: File )

Opposition Leader Hon. Marlon Penn has raised concerns over what can be termed as a double-standard operation, where current members of the Fahie administration, who once protested against the development of Beef Island resort for environmental reasons are now planning on developing the same area.

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Plans are afoot to extend the T.B Lettsome International Airport, and the island may also be the permanent home for the drag racing sport.

Hon. Penn said during the NDP Radio last night, April 19, the property in question was originally earmarked to construct a resort, but it never materialized as there were protests against it.

He added, “But now this government is talking about running an entire airport strip through the same habitat at Beef Island and taking away the property from the investor. This is private property; this wasn’t property that was leased; this is a property that was bought. Is that the direction that the government wants to go in terms of being investor-friendly? That the BVI is going to take away property from private individuals and just do as they please with those properties?”

Hon. Penn also had other questions since the last time he checked, the property was for sale for close to $50 million.

"Is the government going to finance the sale of that property? If it’s going to do so where is the money coming from? Where is the conversation with the people from the eighth district? Even if you don’t want to speak to me, the people’s representative at least come to speak to my people. You are talking about putting a drag strip in Beef Island. So it’s just a lot of smoke and mirrors just to distract from what is happening,” he added.

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Penn also questioned whether members of the government received calls daily on the economic hardships of residents.

“People who are having a difficult time putting food on their table, who are struggling to survive, but we are just talking about a set of wish lists. I am lost to understand what this government’s focus is; I continue to say that we need to have a clear, concise economic plan for this country,” he noted.

Recently, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie said the BVI Airports Authority (BVIPA) would be putting its business plan to “fund the expansion of the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport and runway” to accommodate larger aircrafts and more direct flights.

The Premier added, “You should know that your Government is engaged in the arbitration process with regard to the Hung Lands at Beef Island [where the airport is located]. Acquiring just over 600-plus acres of land will allow the Government to pursue development initiatives that will enhance the economy. Additionally, this is a possible for site to house our proposed drag racing stadium, which is a potential opportunity for sports tourism and this will attract increased visitor and cargo traffic to the Territory.”

The property in question belongs to Raymond Hung from Hong Kong, China.

Initially plans over half a century ago was to construct a resort and golf course, but that never materialized.

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In 2019, when the matter of the drag racing sport was first mentioned by the Fahie administration, he said a home was being sought for the sport that would become an official sport in the territory.

One year later, the BVIAA said it appointed a special committee to negotiate the property in question, being referred to as ‘Hung Lands.’

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