Government has reported a tremendous increase in marine-based accommodations in the British Virgin Islands since the hurricanes of 2017.
Premier Andrew Fahie told the House of Assembly (HOA) recently that reports from the Central Statistics Office are that the territory has recorded about 4,400 berths on boats last year.
“[This] exceeds our pre-storm capacity,” the Premier said.
Growing problem of persons living on boats
While an increase in berthing is welcomed for tourism in the BVI, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour & Immigration Vincent Wheatley has raised concern as it related to long-term residency on these vessels.
In a statement in the House this week, Wheatley said that he had received reports that several persons who reside or work in the territory have been living on some of their boats.
He said: “Although the Immigration Act is silent on this issue, the spirit of the law confers that living accommodations in the territory should be land-based … We acknowledge that housing has been a challenge since the storms of 201. However, living on boats should not be a long-term solution.”
Measures to come to cease the practice
Minister Wheatley said taking up long-term residence on boats in the BVI will result in serious damage being caused on the environment, and to prevent this, his ministry will be implementing measures to curb the growing problem.
“This practice must be discontinued,” he argued.
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