The Government of the Virgin Islands is defending its recent motion in the House of Assembly for the compulsory acquisition of a plot of land earmarked for a sewerage pumping station opposite the East End Police Station.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, in August 2014, officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour made contact with one of the relatives of the two registered land owners of Parcel 350, Block 3439B, East End Registration Section to communicate Government’s intent to purchase the land to construct a pumping station, which is a vital part of the National Sewerage Project.
The Ministry said the officials met with the relative, who had been in direct communication with the landowners, in order to discuss plans and provide the opportunity for the representative to review the drawing on September 2, 2014.
The Ministry formally wrote to the two registered landowners on September 3, 2014, and the letter was forwarded via express mail to the landowners by the family representative. During a follow-up telephone discussion with the family representative, it was expressed that due to the time sensitivity of the matter, the Government decided to accept a notarized letter from the proprietors granting consent for works to be commissioned on the property, pending finalisation of compensation.
The family representative indicated that one landowner was considering the request; however, further discussions had to be made with the other landowner, who holds the property in joint proprietorship. On October 10, 2014, one of the landowners contacted the Ministry via telecom in response to the Ministry’s request. It was communicated that they were earlier inclined to offer Government a lease; however, after further discussions with the other landowner, they collectively decided that they would not release the requested land under any circumstances. It was further mentioned that an alternative site in close proximity to the bakery can be offered to the Government.
It was also communicated by letter to the landowners that the site identified was the most significant location to accommodate the pumping station to collect and transport sewerage from communities such as Fat Hogs Bay, Chapel Hill, Greenland, Little Dix Hill, Long Look and other surrounding areas. From the pump station, the sewerage will be pumped directly to the proposed treatment plant in Paraquita Bay.
It was also envisaged that the pumping station will target properties that currently discharge untreated waste water onto the streets in the communities of Long Look, Little Dix and The Sticket. The Ministry said this particular site is integral to the National Sewerage Project from a technical stand point as it was viewed, by the engineers for the National Sewerage Project, as the lowest and most centralized point in terms of unoccupied land, as the majority of the sewerage lines travel from gravity sites.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, this aspect of the project was placed on hold to allow further discussions with the registered landowners. As works were required to continue the project, since it affected all persons whether living in or visiting the Territory, a decision was sought to acquire the land by Compulsory Acquisition. As per the procedures outlined in the Land Acquisition Ordinance, Cap 222, Laws of the Virgin Islands, Government was guided by the provisions outlined in Sec 3.
Government remains committed to complete the National Sewerage Project in Road Town and the East End/Long Look areas and will continue to work swiftly towards the completion and delivery of a working National Sewerage System.