BVI News

Bad idea: VIP candidate objects proposal to relocate Willy T to Salt Island

Virgin Islands Party candidate for the Fourth District Luce Hodge Smith believes granting the Willy T Floating Bar and Restaurant approval to operate from the now uninhabitable Salt Island would be unwise.

Back in December, Junior Minister of Tourism Dr Hubert O’Neal had told BVI News that discussions were being had with the owners of the vessel. He said they were presented with options of places to relocate their operations such as Salt Island.

But, while speaking at her campaign launch in Road Town on Saturday, Hodge-Smith said the restaurant could pollute the area.

“It is my understanding that plans are afoot to grant the owners of Willy T permission to anchor at Salt Island,” she said. “That proposed anchorage is currently being used by local fishermen who set their fish pots and dive for conchs. There is also the potential for pollution of the beach if that happens [and] it would detract from the pristine nature of the island.”

Another reason she gave for her objections was that the anchorage was not always safe.

“So, to the current administration I ask of you on behalf of the descendants of Salt Island to reconsider your proposal,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hodge-Smith said if she and the VIP is voted into office, she will push to preserve the legacy and heritage of the island. She said she would also assist in passing legislation to protect the island’s natural environment.


The Willy T operated for decades off The Bight at Norman Island before they were evicted due to a major undertaking that was scheduled to take place on the privately-owned island.

Not long after relocating to Great Harbour on Peter Island, they were given another eviction notice requiring them to move by the end of 2018. From all indications, the Willy T still operates from Great Harbour.

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  1. strupes says:


    Like 33
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    • Visitor says:

      Why not leave the Willy T were it is, and allow somebody to open a bar on Salt Island itself. It is out of the way, nobody lives there and it could become a wild party spot without disbursing anybody.
      It might even encourage the ancestors of those buried there to visit the graves of their ancestors rather than leaving them to decay – which is what presently happens. It is a disgrace that the ancestors don’t maintain the graves – as if they want to deny their heritage!
      Bring on a wild bar please!

      Like 2
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  2. SMH says:

    Why go distrupt our Heritage? Why those that buy out Norman and other Outer Islands can uproot the Willy T for their own personal gains to the detrement of another’s pitfall? Why not anchor Willy T at Necker, Mosquito, Great Camano or Guayna Island? No! Its beneficial to disrupt the local man and enpower the rich and elite!

    Like 26
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    • Y says:

      Y dont every soul leave tola for a year to c what will happen to them n their families n i am sooo glad that the vip aint win yet n c what they are cooking up .island people vip do not like r u also the blue shirt people even worst mine watch where you put that x come election . Do not forget they form a party the same very night bigget lost to myron do not forget where they stand they hate island people fool fool ain come up with that idea by herself those fakes have blood in their eyes they can taste it

  3. Family says:

    Luce i cant vote for you or VIP but as your cousin i am agreeing with you here. They wont wake up those Smith/Durant Spirits ova deh.

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
    • Crap says:

      Leave my ancestral place alone. Let them use another island. Stupid people. Just because descendants of Salt island simple. Sick ah dem

  4. Anonymous says:

    No, no, no! Oh H**l d**n no!!

    Not no where close to my ancestors spirits!!

    H**l d**n no!!

    They want to go now and desecrate the grounds of my/our ancestors with their drunkenness and filth and s**t in the interest of capitalism?

    H**l no family. Do not allow them to. I vehemently protest against such!

    Which is more sacred? the sanctity and peace of our ancestors to lay in peace, or the ugliness and the filth and trash upon the shores of Salt Island and upon and around the graves of our ancestors ?

    Those people do not have any respect for us who are living much less our dead.

    Like 18
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  5. Cay People says:

    Willy T keep rolling. We don’t want you over there.

    Like 9
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  6. TOURIST says:


    Like 18
  7. E. Leonard says:

    The UN adopting the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention among other things allows the territory the right to control the 12 mile territorial sea and the sovereignty of the 200 mile exclusive economic zone. Both limits belong to the BVI and its people. And their use and enjoyment with reasonable controls should be a accesible and available to all BVI residents.

    Ok. Salt Island, once home to some 100 people, has a rich heritage. Islanders ( Key people as they were referred to, not a term of endearment) were a hardy, hardworking group that made the best of the few available opportunities to eek out a living. Salt Island, along with the other Southern Cays, was the neglected and forgotten isle. It lacked basic services available to Tortola and other islands. For example, there was not even a preschool. If it were not for the ingenuity and sacrifices of parents, the village, most of us would have been severely under educated. Imagine a 3-5 year old being separated from its parents and shipped off to Tortola and Virgin Gorda to live with sometimes relative strangers so that they could attend school. Imagine the mental anguish the parents had to endure. Why is Salt Island uninhabited?

    Salt is uninhabited for several reasons. The impacted of a major hurricane ( 1924 Gail) according to some senior Islanders started the population decline. Secondly, many families moved to Tortola to keep families together while the chiren went to school. Thirdly, many others emigrated to Tortola for employment opportunities. And lastly, Father Time took the few that remained one by one. A serious effort must be initiated to repopulate Salt Island to preserve the history, culture, heritage. And more importantly, it is a place that descendants can again calll home. The Hon Julian Fraser (D-3) floated the issue during the 2015 general election campaign. However, since then, it died on the vine. Luce thus far is the only candidate showing any interest in Salt Island.

    The descendants of Salt Islands must push back on any effort to off load Salt Islands to others. However, we cannot just rant about it; it needs action. The Willy T relocating to Salt Island is out in the public domain so it is highly likely to happen. Candidates see few if any votes on Salt Island. Moreover, government must put strict environmental controls in place to prevent contamination and pollution of sea and coast line.

    Like 29
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    • Good says:

      Good points but the descendants of Salt Island must first unite before anything positive can happen over there. For all you know it’s one one of the very descendants that’s involved with getting Willy T over there and may develop something on the landside to benefit from the spinoffs that will come with Willy T. Who knows?

      Like 11
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  8. descendant says:

    How can this idea even be considered without a vote from the descendants. I don’t agree with putting Willy T by Salt Island. SI is one of the few places in the BVI that belong to us the people and we can enjoy it unspoiled by the mess left by the wild parties. stop selling out the BVIs one by one

    Like 9
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  9. thoughtful sailor says:

    This is a really bad idea, quite apart from the concerns of the traditional inhabitants’ families.

    Particularly, during our High Season, the stronger winds and North swells can make this a dangerous anchorage. Many of the guests are neither skilled boaters nor sober. It’s necessary to disembark passengers and either tie up a dinghy or small power boat to the Willie T, neither of which would be easy in conditions which frequently prevail. Currently, there are no mooring balls at the anchorage, so skill and judgement in anchoring will be necessary, as well. Finally, many of the Willy T’s guests swim and jump in, and not necessarily in a sober condition.

    The Willie T needs to be in a well protected anchorage, if it is to continue to operate as it always has. Salt Island is not such a place, and the consequences are not hard to foresee.

    Like 24
  10. Diaspora says:

    Dem people that have no connection to Salt Island could give a rat’s a** about it. If you never lived it, it is hard to relate to it. Nonetheless, it is the defendants of Salt Island fault. With improved transportation, communications………etc a more united and aggressive effort should have been wage to start the repopulation as noted by E. Leonard. Salt Island is just a distant memory to many descendants. Many left and are keeping their eyes straight ahead. Furthermore, as Good noted the descendants need to take decisive action. And it is probably true some that descendants may be behind the move. Many descendants were ashamed to be from Salt Island. Now that land has value they are showing their faces. It is all about the Benjamins. There are strength in numbers and if the descendants truly and honestly wants to save Salt Island, they must unite. If it is uninhabited, it is hard to protect and preserve it.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  11. RealPol says:

    “The UN adopting the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention among other things allows the territory the right to control the 12 mile territorial sea and the sovereignty of the 200 mile exclusive economic zone. Both limits belong to the BVI and its people. And their use and enjoyment with reasonable controls should be a accesible and available to all BVI residents.” This is quote from E. Leonard’s comment. It is fully loaded. It speaks volume for what was it didn’t say.

    My take on the quote is that the BVI is letting a rich few dictate how the BVI’s natural resources should be used by the many. It is like the 80/20 rule except in this case 0.25/95.75. 0.25 few is influencing the 95.75 many External investment is welcome but it should be win-win. BVI residents should not be made to feel like intruders in the BVI. There is room at both Peter and Norman for Willy T and others to coexist with current and planned businesses. Keep it real.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  12. Hello says:

    Excellent points by Mr. E. Leonard (as usual)and those following.
    Ms. Hodge-smith I urge you to continue along this path with respect to the preservation of the remaining vestiges of local culture. Please note also the number of live-aboard boats moored in the territory. Where does all the waste go? How are regulations being enforced, if at all? By whom? Are such things as electricity, water and related tariffs being monitored? By whom? What can we verify via official documentation relative to these matters? I do absolutely see salt island becoming a national park where cultural events can be staged – where schools children can spend days learning about the roots from whence they came.
    Good luck Ms. Hodge-smith.

    • E. Leonard says:

      @Hello, thanks for the shout out! Indeed there are many yachts and other boats plying the BVI coastal waters. All these yachts……etc should have holding and/or advanced Marine Sanitation Device (MSD). Holding tanks should be pump out at pump out facilities ashore or pump out out to sea well beyond 3 miles limit.

      But where are the pump out facilities and sewage treatment plants ashore? Raw sewage contains bacteria, pathogen……..etc and discharging raw/untreated sewage into the sea pollutes and contaminates it. It also adversely impacts fish and other food sources, reefs, sea beds, mangroves, recrecreational activities, ie, swimming, skiing, snorkeling, diving……..etc. The sea is a major draw for the tourism sector; polluting it will drive visitors to competing destinations.

      Further, establishing part of Salt Island as a national park is interesting and worthy of further discussion.

      Like 10
      • Duh says:

        So where do you think the s**t from the BVI sewage system goes? Straight out to sea in the Drakes Channel so pumping out your tanks in Tortola (unless it’s at Nanny Cay who have their own plant) means you still send your s**t to sea just via the already overloaded sewage system. The charter boats have tanks and most hold in the bays and dump while sailing. Before the BVI gets on its high horse it needs to literally sort its own s**t out. Plus this is all c**p anyway as the WILLY T – would never go to Salt Island as it’s a c**p anchorage in the North Swell,so this is all hot air out of (aspiring) politicians who already jumping on BS band wagons which means they are going to be c**p in office. Again does anyone due any research or due diligence before giving speeches nowadays? Or is the population that thick that they believe these people?

        Like 3
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  13. Me. Again says:

    Perfect place for Willy T is under the bluff Beef island
    For most times ( except) with southern winds it is CALM

    For sure ; there is no one there to be disturbed

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
    • Crap says:

      Leave my ancestral place alone. Let them use another island. Stupid people. Just because descendants of Salt island simple. Sick ah dem

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
  14. Busy Bee says:

    We are all sooo busy deciding the fate of someone else’s business. Meanwhile, we’ve all been fed a line of BS by fat cats at Norman Island and probably the most offensive of all, the owners over at Peter island… Meanwhile, has anyone seen a blade of grass on Norman or Peter knocked down by heavy equipment? has anyone seen a spade-full of earth moved on either of these “planned” developments? Maybe by the next election.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  15. Ausar says:

    Soooo not a good idea!

    And who would want to use SI salt with the mere thought of defacation and other forms of defilement in such a neccessary food product..

    Its an abominative act;one that should not be tolerated by anyone whose health is considered of extreme importance!

  16. Salt Island Subtract says:

    The salt ponds on Salt Island before the prevalence of refrigeration was a source of salt for ships for seasoning and preserving meat, fish, pork…….etc. The residents of Salt Islands were some hardy, self supporting souls. Making a living was tough and opportunities were limited to fishing, seasonal salt reaping, minimal small stock raising, and minimal subsistence agriculture. The people were close knit and bandied together to survive. Circumstances beyond residents control as noted by others regretfully contributed to the population decline. Nonetheless, the repopulation is not insurmountable. The descendants just need to work cooperatively to make it happen.

    In 1867, the RMS Rhône, a British mail carrier, was struck by a devasting gale (hurricane) with most save for about 23 crew perished. Many of bodies and other items drifted ashore on Salt Island. The Islanders retrieved the bodies and buried them. The other items were collected and turned over to government. Research indicate that due to the Islanders effort Queen Victoria ceded the island to Salt Island residents and their descendants in perpetuity.

    To my fellow descendants let’s work together to reclaim Salt Islands and preserve its rich history, heritage and culture in perpetuity. Let’s keep Salt Island in local hands.

  17. Billfargo says:

    This whole back and forth with this Willy T is a clear example of poor leadership in the BVIs. Just let them anchor anywhere around the BVI just as long as they are not within the 12 miles limits of territorial waters, and they don’t needs anyone permission to do that. Take it to the US Virgin islands, Haiti, St Martin, or since William Thorton is so legendary take it to England……..

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