The government has responded to the ongoing controversy over the Willy T floating bar and restaurant, which is being booted from its usual location at Norman Island.
In a statement issued late Friday, the government said the vessel must relocate if the business is to continue.
“The seabed surrounding Norman Island is the property of the Crown,”the government said.
“The Government of the Virgin Islands has no objection to the continued operation of the business of the Willy T at an alternate location, provided that all the necessary requirements for licensing, the mooring of the vessel, environmental protection, and the safe operation of the business are satisfied.”
The statement further said the Willy T has been operating under an annual seabed licence which expired in February 2018.
The government confirmed that talks have been ongoing with the vessel owners “about a number of environmental and other operational issues, including new development plans for the area which would require the vessel to relocate.”
Those talks were said to be ongoing since the earlier part of 2017. But, Willy T owner Ewan Anderson said there were no further talks on the matter since the initial discussions.
Anderson said he is willing to legally fight for the vessel to remain at the location.
The new Willy T arrived in the British Virgin Islands on Thursday (May 10) from the United States to replace the previous vessel which had been destroyed during the September hurricanes.
However, upon arrival, the government informed the owners that the vessel will no longer be allowed to moor at Norman Island.
Copyright 2019 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.