BVI News

Descendants of Salt Island also in line to receive land titles

Vincent Wheatley

Descendants of Salt Island may soon be next in line to receive land titles, Natural Resources Minister Vincent Wheatley has said.

Wheatley told BVI News on Tuesday that the request for land titles came directly from residents of the now uninhabited island.

He said a land committee could be formed “as early as June” to kickstart the initiative.

The minister said, among other things, the land committee will use ‘a fair and balanced yardstick’ to decide who is eligible to be granted land titles.

“It’s for the committee to decide, not me,” he noted.

Lack of facilities affected the island’s growth

In the meantime, Wheatley said the outer island’s growth has been stalled for an extended period and part of the problem was the number of persons who did not have the land titles.

The other reasons he said was because: “It (the island) never had a church or a school or power, or able water.”

Asked if the Fahie-led administration is considering to equip the island with the essential amenities, he responded: “Not at this time but you never know. There are alternative energy systems available.”

He said ‘hundreds of the island’s descendants’ however have plans to develop it. When further questioned about the type of development that they are proposing, the minister responded: “I am not sure at this time, once the committee meets, they will then inform me.”

Descendants of the island still make the yearly trips to the location every Territorial day, and many still use their plots as a family burial ground.

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  1. Adic says:

    Good vibes.

  2. Hit the nail on the head says:

    It is about time. However, I would not advocate for freehold land titles but an indefinite trust to families for permission to build and hand down through the generations by inheritance.

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
  3. E. Leonard says:

    Great news for the descendants of Salt Island, a small sliver of land (less than a square mile——approx 200 acres), one of long the forgotten Southern Cays and probably the 5th wheel in the BVI society. As noted, it lacked/still does even very basic services, ie, water, school, church, electricity, basic medical services, public transportation, recreation services……..etc. Life on Salt Island was challenging; it was hard for the approx 100 people that once call it home.

    Nevertheless, the people of Salt Island were a hardy, hardworking group of people who worked cooperatively and collaboratively to eek out a living with limited economic opportunities, ie, fishing, farming, small stock raising, salt harvesting…….etc. It was a great example of the Village concept——each one help one.

    Moreover, Salt Island is a priceless gem. For its quiet and enjoyment, it is probably one of the best place to be on earth. The experience of its quiet, enjoyment……etc should be preserved for generations of descendants into perpetuity. An appointed committee will determine how this sliver of a gem will be apportion. It is a sliver of land of approx 200 acres (including the two salt ponds). Thus, dividing it among the hundreds of descendants will be challenging; it will take much cooperation, compromise, reasonableness…..etc to amicably and mutually beneficially resolve this issue. Confident that my “Fam” will closely work together as our fore-parents did.

    Like 31
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    • Oops! says:

      ‘Dislike’ button mistakenly pressed.

    • RealPol says:

      “It was a great example of the Village concept——each one help one.” It takes a village to raise a child was once a core part of BVI society but that clean gone with growth and development. With the loss, came deviant behaviour that is wreaking havoc on the community.

  4. greed says:


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  5. ERLV says:

    Thank you (Butch), Hon. V.W., for spear heading this initiative.

    Wish grandfather Cornelius was her to ralized its end.

    I agree whole heartedly with “Hit the nail on the head” also, and with uncle Edgar’s agreement there to.

    Such would be the the greastes plausable solution, as greed among family members would cause horrific, well, i leave it there.

    Like 4
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  6. Kingfish says:

    It seems as if Hon:Wheatley is the only minister in the new administration who is doing anything. Maybe he should be the Premier.

    Like 11
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    • Yes says:

      This gentleman as premier…..I wholeheartedly agree. I would rather see him develop more related hands-on experience however.
      Looking good so far.

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  7. Salt Island Subtract says:

    Undoubtedly, this initiative will create great interest among descendants in procuring a piece of paradise. I shouldn’t go here but I will. Lots of people who didn’t want it known that they were descended from “Key People” will now boldly come forward gladly to embrace their heritage. Others have commented on Salt Island history so I will only comment on how the land should be held.

    Salt Island should be preserved for the use and enjoyment of this generation and generations yet unborn. As such, I agree with Hit the Nail on the Head that the land should not be disburse as freehold (permanent ability to own the land and do with it what one chooses, ie, sell …etc) but rather as leasehold with indefinite use.

    Further, government must do more than divvy up the land through a committee. To incentivize use and promote repopulation, government must invest on resources, ie, water, electricity, multipurpose facility, wharf, marine transportation, basic fire services, garbage disposal and so on.

    Like 14
  8. Supporter says:

    Would love to see Salt Island become a National Park and Tourist Hot Spot with daily history excursions and a Museum!

    Like 17
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  9. Grandpa Cornelius says:

    While the folks are in gear for land titles which is very good. All eyes have to be on Copper Island as well.

    Like 3
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    • SI Descendant says:

      This issue is about Salt Island descendants so why bring Cooper Island into this discussion. The 2 issues should not be conflated. Salt Island is basically crown land; whereas, Cooper Island land is privately owned, ie, Smiths, Leonards, deCastros, Abbotts and others.

  10. Wondering says:

    Which BVI Family will benefit the most?

  11. “Ourside” says:

    Finally, Great news,well done Hon VW!
    Salt islanders, as we make plans for development, lets remember to preserve our rich heritage!

    proud descendant of this rare gem of paradise!

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  12. 7 Gen Salt Island Descendant says:

    Though I was not born on Salt Island nor did I live there permanently, I now visit it as often as I can and it is a gem. A gem that should be protected and preserved for the next wave of descendants. Hopefully, there is an effort to repopulate it and some of the culture is revived, ie, a salt breaking. Its rich history needs to be catalogued and shared. Government should do more to make it this happen.

    Thanks to the people who got this ball off of top dead center. Like the responses to the article, ie, Hit the Nail on the Head, E. Leonard, Salt Island Subtract, Supporter, Ourside……etc??. There is a perception that family feud, division, infighting, greed…..etc will rule the day.

    To my family, let’s prove the doubters wrong; let the legacy of Adam “Tardum” Leonard and Sarah Leonard clan shine. See you folks on Descendants Day(early July); lets tun out in droves. Perhaps, we can pick the brain of the few remaining elders and recreate a Salt Breaking, ie, cuz Lucy Leonard (oldest living fam), Daisy Durant, Nora Mann, William Leonard among others. I’m excited!

    Like 12
  13. Awesome says:

    Now that this initiative has started, although I’m not a descendant, I can’t wait for the families to work together to start harvesting the salt and selling it locally instead of us having to use the iodized version that’s imported. I watched my grandparents use a block of salt to corn meat and fish before hanging them up in the sun to dry.

  14. John Newton says:

    I sent you a comment weeks ago and you have not replied. I am waiting signed by the grandson and the only grandchild of Cornelius leonard and my grandma Maria White to be borm at Coral Bay, Cooper Island. Matter of fact, my uncle and 22nd child of my grandparents were the last children to be born there.2 weeks after he(Edgar Leonard) was born,grandma delivered me from my mother Sarah Louise Leonard. So you see, i am a decendant of salt island also.

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