Information Officer II
Department of Information & Public Relations
The Cabinet of the Virgin Islands has approved the establishment of a Management Committee for the land at Paraquita Bay that has been designated for agricultural purposes.
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, said with the committee, it will support the farming community at Paraquita Bay in the production of high-quality food through sustainable commercial agriculture.
“We envision that the estate will not only serve as a mecca for agricultural production, but our farmers will make strong linkages with our education and tourism sectors. It is our aim that Paraquita Bay will be the model for the orderly and efficient use of Crown lands for agriculture in the Territory,” Honourable Wheatley said.
The committee’s terms of reference are to:
- make recommendations for the level and types of agricultural production that should occur at Paraquita Bay;
- review existing allocation of lands and make recommendations for efficient use of agricultural lands to ensure greater levels of production;
- make recommendations for the policy to govern lands designated for agricultural purposes at Paraquita Bay;
- review applications for use of lands at Paraquita Bay for agricultural purposes and make recommendations to the Minister; and
- make recommendations for educational and agricultural programmes that can provide optimal productivity on the estate.
The committee is chaired by Dr. Harlan Vanterpool who said he firmly believe that food security is critical to our national security.
“We must be able to feed ourselves. Therefore, I fully embrace the opportunity to work alongside the members of this committee to advance this cause," he said.
The others members are Ms. Kisha Frett, Mr. Alton Vanterpool, Mr. Oren Hodge, Mr. Kenrick Headley. Ex officio members are Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr. Norval Young, representing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration and Ms. Jeanelle Hodge, Secretary.
Paraquita Bay is the largest single area of Crown land used for agriculture in the Territory to date. The Paraquita Bay Settlement Project was established by an Executive Council decision in 1992, as part of a policy decision in 1988 to revive agriculture..
Photos: Committee Members