The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour is in talks with H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) to acquire land for a permanent campus on the sister island of Virgin Gorda.
According to Natural Resources Minister Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, the college has rented from Virgin Gorda commercial properties such as the Pickering Building and, most recently, Village Rose for the last 30 years.
However, he said HLSCC President Dr Richard Georges has a vision for the college, which sees the Virgin Gorda campus becoming a “mecca for hospitality and culinary arts”. It is to this end that a
“Virgin Gorda being a prime destination for tourism, this development (of a permanent campus) would garner interest from the community for much-needed growth in the relevant industries,” Turnbull stated. “We have entered discussions with the college to obtain ownership of land in Virgin Gorda and hence the ability to build a fully outfitted permanent campus.”
Turnbull made that announcement against the backdrop that 134 acres of Crown land have been transferred to HLSCC. Cabinet had decided to make that transfer back in 2019 but the college had only received 13 acres since that time.
Turnbull said the delay to transfer the rest was “due to land swap agreements with the Department of Agriculture”, but did not explain how that contributed to the delay.
“One hundred and twenty-on acres remain in the Crown’s possession. The delay in finalising this transfer of land is of great reproach, considering that the total of 134 acres was procured by the Government on behalf of the college from the previous landowners, in 2003,” the minister stated.
He added: “As the Minister responsible for lands, I wish to conclude this outstanding matter once and for all in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports. We have a duty to uphold the original agreement of transfer in the interest of the development of our people, and we need to do so in the shortest order.”
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