BVI News

Locals may soon have to pay to use National Parks Trust facilities

Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal

Locals may soon be required to pay a fee when utilising any National Parks Trust venue. Furthermore, the existing fees for tourists may see an increase.

This is according to the Director of the National Parks Trust, Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal who said these new measures will have to be taken to revive the organisation.

Speaking at a recent online forum, Dr Titley-O’Neal said the Trust has been operating at a loss.

“We have to find a way for either: locals to either start paying some kind of nominal fee to pay and continue for the upkeep. And on top of that, in terms of the tourist, they’re going to have to pay some sort of increase in fees.”

“We have to carry up the fees to cover the maintenance costs. We are not looking at it for profit. If we can break even, I would be extremely happy. But right now, the way in which the Trust has been running — for quite some time — has been at a loss. And it is really affecting our operations and that’s why a lot of people complain; ‘oh and this park is closed and that park is closed’.”

COVID-19 impacted funding

Dr Titley-O’Neal also alluded to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the reason for wanting to introduce fees to locals.

She said the main stream of income into the National Parks Trust usually comes through donations or tourism.

“Tourism is down. COVID is not only affecting the BVI, it’s affecting on a global scale so obviously the donations have been down as well. And so getting the volume of money from donations and ‘parks entrance fees’ is not enough to sustain us. So we’ve been having some challenges over the last couple of months but we’ve been working through them steady,” she explained.

Increase in traffic since COVID/Higher maintenance

The director further said there has been an increase in foot traffic into the various national parks across the territory since the advent of COVID-19.

This increase will naturally require a more frequent maintenance schedule to the various venues, she explained.

“One of the things I want the public to understand is that all of these parks were destroyed during Irma. Most of them were not repaired and because of COVID now, we are finding an increase in a surge of persons using them. I’ve seen hiking groups going to places like Shark Bay and Sage Mountain,” Dr Titley-O’Neal stated.

She added: “We increase traffic and [must] keep up with the trails and the pieces of wood and lumber that have to be tracked. So everything costs money.”

By generating additional revenue for maintenance, Dr Titley-O’Neal said the territory’s ecosystem services will be preserved.

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48 Comments

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  1. NWO says:

    We soon have to pay to breathe….oh wait, I think we already are

    Like 28
    Dislike 6
  2. huh says:

    Is this one trying to make back all the money wasted on the john legend show?

    Like 22
    Dislike 4
  3. nah hoo says:

    GYUL GO SIDDUNG

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
  4. Yes says:

    What a great idea. Raise the fees of the non existent tourists to bail your a**es out. By the way how you all doing on the $10 environmental fee that you rob each tourist of when they enter. The sewage of the Belonger still going straight in the sea? Fires still burning from the Belonger trash? But let’s have the white tourist take care of those issues for us. We’ll charge them for the hurt they place on the environment…

    Like 42
    Dislike 14
    • @Yes says:

      I guess only whites are tourist. And, as long as you live here, you have sewage and trash as well. The ignorance and discrimination of some of you expats…please return to your well run countries. Obviously, the BVI is not good enough for you.

      Like 21
      Dislike 8
    • Hmmmmmm says:

      You need to go and research the facts. That $10 does not only go to national parks trust. That money is shared by three entities:

      Climate change fund
      Tourist Board
      National parks trust

      Like 7
      Dislike 2
      • Eye Roll says:

        Climate Change Fund? So we have a Climate Change Fund in the BVI, how many directors, how much are they paid. What do they do, to unchanged Climate change, ROTFLMAO.

        BVI loves to squander other people’s money. Sickening

        Like 10
        Dislike 2
      • Lost Lemon says:

        And has the media made any effort to report in just what this might ‘Climate Change Fund’ does for the BVI (or the World)?

        Would make for an interesting article! 😉

    • @Yes says:

      You sound so bitter. I am surprised to know that you continue to torture yourself by living in this dreadful place. The time has come. You should leave. The economy is bad. There is no possible reason for you to remain here as bitter as your are. Please hurry. Pack your bag. We will be so much happier without.

  5. curious says:

    So what is that environmental levie that is being collected for?

    Like 17
  6. Sorryyyyy says:

    But soon they are going to make us start paying for the size of our p****, I’ll say $3.00 per inch?

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  7. LAND OWNER says:

    National park people what the h**l you are saying that locals may have to pay to visit national park you all better go sit down with your stupid money making schemes, the park officials know how some of those parks came about and who donated land to the government to help with the development of the parks, ralph oneal is not only turning over in his grave he is sitting up. Mr ralph did what he had to do so that the lands for parks was had and that the people of the bvi the indegenious bvi landers can visit and enjoy not only the beauty but a legacy of their fore parents land, you can charge the visitors and non belongers a fee to use the property and to visit but do not charge locals because you all might get a rude awaking. The late ralph oneal had a lot to do with getting park lands do not let him have to come up out of his grave and give you all his tounge. Members of the government what is wrong can the true bvi landers gain nothing, those parks have a wealth of history with family members still alive and can talk how they were started because some of them were young children when they were been made. The late j r oneal will be so mad because of all the work he has done. What you can do is ask then to give a donotion of which they will not object to. Man come on we are killing our owm with out using a weapon or drinking a bottle of pills. Andrew do NPT allow the passage of this it will hurt you as the premier because you are reponsible. Persons who worked at thhe national park at sage mountain you do not hear a thing about them all you hear is Adams he is not the only one who helped with the park .People get a grip ntional parks trust go and do your research and honor those people. Some were there before Adams came on stream. Help really is needed in this place we a becoming a set of cockroaches.

    Like 12
    Dislike 3
    • Rockefeller says:

      Land was given by a white man.

      Like 6
      Dislike 4
    • palm in face says:

      All I’m reading here is “I from here” for once can you please stop and think before you go off on a high horse. times are changing, get with the time.

      Like 5
      Dislike 5
    • @ Landowner says:

      What’s wrong with you? Yes the land is there all to enjoy, bvilanders and touris, but why shouldn’t you pay? Its this born here mentality is what has the country the way it is but you’re to BLIND to see that.

      If the parks weren’t maintained then you would say she with all her degrees don’t know her foot from her elbow.

      Sandy…. DOn’t mind the noise. You can’t please these set of ungrateful set of bvislanders who feel they entitled to everything just cause they got a BH.

      Like 8
      Dislike 3
      • @@landonwer says:

        What you fail to see is that the park system was built off the gifts and volunteer of others. Not only that but the parks were rebuilt with the help of volunteers after the storm.

        To charge charge tourist during the tourist season is one thing but to say a whole family of residents must pay everything they want to go hiking is a whole other story.

        Its not about born here or not is about these park lands being available for the people of the virgin islands no matter how much money you have.

        If they need more help maintaining the park there are people who will do it for free part time right here. They need more money to maintain staff and another solution.

  8. Virgin islands says:

    We bitch and complain about everything that cost money to keep running. Look outside the box and see what other countries where their residents and visitors pay to enjoy their parks

  9. No nonsense says:

    Last time I went to Disney a man made park it was quite pricey. Why not raise the tourist fees that should have been done years ago. We would not be suffering NOW!! Always a little too late!!

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
    • @No Nonsense says:

      During 2007 – 2011 I was a Board Member of the Tourist Board. I recall Mr. Abbot, then Director of the parks made a presentation to the board about the “Baths”. The main concerns were the Carrying Capacity, (the number of visitors per day; especially Cruise Ship passengers); The fee at the time was a mere $3.00. Several members recommended the fee be adjusted to $5.00 per for tourists and $3.00 locals. I don’t know what the fees are now; but with several thousands visitors per day per month, the Baths has the capacity to generate substantial income. The park at Copper Mine Point, the most historical site on Virgin Gorda also has potential for earning substantial earnings; but as of this date there hasn’t been a User Fee at the Copper Mine Park. Meanwhile a building donated and erected at the Copper Mine, was donated believe, by the UNESCO, United Nation Heritage Center. The building was newly erected I think in 2017 and received some damage to the roof; which still remains unrepaired.

  10. @Sorryyyyy says:

    From your remarks, you definitely wouldn’t be paying much.

  11. @Rockefeller says:

    Where did the white man get the land?

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  12. Hmmmm says:

    Why does NPT need a paid executive director plus a board? This is just nonsense.

    • @hmmmmmm says:

      maybe you and your likes should read the legislation of the country. Every statutory board has a executive director for day to day operations and a board to make major decisions.

      I take it we should only have a preimer and ministers with no PS and department heads then since Cabinet make the decisions. We live in a democratic society not a banana republic. Many of you talk without knowing the facts,looking at the two sides of the story and what the law says. I suggest you all get to know the constitution and laws that govern the country from talking hot air. SMH

  13. Crabby Patti says:

    You all wrong for this

  14. Where? says:

    From the indigenous indians!

  15. Wondering says:

    Wondering when, these fully paid, government workers are going to understand that many BVIslanders are now unemployed or underemployed.

    Many can hardly afford to eat much more than rice, Ramon, Picnic Sausages, and eggs when they are on sale.

    The govt. let companies keep expats and fire locals bcos of Corona. When will this govt. show it cares about those disenfranchised owning to Corona ?

    I won’t be going to any park, THAT I have to pay for. I and I highly doubt I am alone in having to pinching my pennies.

    The BVI was always a quietly, class driven society, and now it is blatant. Right back where we started from slaves and slave masters.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  16. How says:

    was it gotten from the indigenous Indians? Where in archiives can the reciepts be found?

  17. Belle Uve says:

    Those comments that bvi landers shoulf pay is outrageous what happen to our fore parents who inherited such lands from their ansectors. Do not tax no bvi landers Lors knows our fore fathers and fore mothers toiled let thw bvi islanders enjoy a little of their inherantice Money is not all to life it cannot pay your way to heaven nir pay you out of hell only the blood can save you.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  18. I Barn Here! says:

    Yea. The locals are going to pay…and the locals are going to get parking tickets, get sent to jail when they steal something, have their drivers license taken away when they wreck a car because they are drunk and get charged with boating infractions when they run over someone and kill them.
    The entire legal system is set up to let BVI nationals do whatever they want without consequences.
    This is just a big joke. Get over your anger. This is how it works here.
    If you are not a BVI National, it is your fault!

  19. @I Barn Here! says:

    Weell, putting straight, have never seen or heard of one white person ever arrested and charged for substance use of any kind, here in thses territorie, even though they are huge consumers and importers of said substances. Wonde why why they exist outside BVI laws for decades now?

  20. lol says:

    Imagine me paying to go in a National Park and the Park rangers can’t even give decent information about them. This is comical.

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