More serious penalties will now be imposed on persons who are caught illegally reclaiming any seabed in the British Virgin Islands.
Natural Resources Minister Vincent Wheatley gave that warning in the House of Assembly where he said the illegal act will no longer be tolerated.
“I am asking persons to refrain from illegally reclaiming the seabed. There is a process to be followed if someone wishes to engage in land reclamation and I am appealing to anyone who is minded to engage in this illegal practice to discontinue,” Minister Wheatley said.
The minister did not specify the type or degree of punishment to be faced by the persons caught in the act. He, however, said: “We have been quite lenient over the years, this will no longer be the case as we intend to hold persons responsible for their actions.”
Meanwhile, Wheatley also singled out persons who fill wetlands/salt ponds and warned about the dangers of these actions.
“The salt ponds are there for a reason and that is to protect the nearshore as they serve as a filter for the watershed/runoff water from the hillside in periods of heavy rains,” Wheatley said.
He added that while persons may fail to see the immediate effects, these actions continue to negatively impact the BVI’s natural assets which he said persons rely on for their livelihoods.
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