BVI News

Staffing issues rock the National Parks Trust

Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal

Financial difficulties and staffing challenges are affecting the state-owned entity responsible for local parks and protected areas.

Director of the National Parks Trust (NPT) Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal told the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) recently that she has an ageing staff and some of them have since retired.

Dr Titley-O’Neal also said she hired some young men but they have since “abandoned the job”. She stated that the Trust has a “problem with the young people where they have challenges”. She did not expound on that statement except to tell the SFC that she has “tried her best with them”.

The SFC wrote in its 2023 report that Dr Titley-O’Neal had said her department is also looking for more wardens on Virgin Gorda, “but she cannot hire more staff, and Virgin Gorda is the only island that has six national parks”.

“She also mentioned that she has inherited an ageing park that needs to be fixed from Hurricane Irma but the funding is not available. She also mentioned that she inherited bills from 2019,” the SFC document reported.

‘Shameful’ entry fee

Legislators sitting on the SFC were also made aware of the Director’s dissatisfaction with the small three-dollar fee to enter the territory’s national parks.

Dr Titley-O’Neal said the existing fee is “a shame and cannot purchase toilet paper for the bathrooms”. She further said it was to her understanding that government had approved fee increases. However, she said the increases were later pulled back.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Natalio Wheatley responded at the time that the proposals for those fee increases should be considered. He said his ministry would review the proposals and bring them forward.

There are 21 known parks under the responsibility of the NPT.

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26 Comments

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  1. Hmmm says:

    What an intelligent but wicked Head.

    Like 22
    Dislike 4
  2. Please says:

    All these people crying out for more staff when the ones they have do little or no work.

    Like 22
    Dislike 8
  3. Really says:

    Some of these people want the government to empty the budget funding staff and then there will be no money left to take care of all infrastructure and other essential services and programmes for the youth and seniors. It is totally rediculous.

    Like 7
    Dislike 7
  4. Useless department says:

    Why does everyone make it seem that before these departments were operating fine? None of the National Parks have any maintenance, guidance for visitors or improvements for decades..

    Like 24
    Dislike 4
  5. Real talk says:

    Stop trying to hang perla daughter and focus more on collecting the fees due to national park.

    Like 7
    Dislike 8
  6. Judge Ito says:

    I strongly believe that she is the problem

    Like 27
    Dislike 6
  7. OhDear says:

    For a territory so blessed in natural beauty, and so reliant on tourism, we should be truly ashamed.
    That beauty is the raw material for our tourism industry – c. 62% of our GDP – but beyond that, untouched nature is the raw material for all life on Earth.
    And yet we hate nature.
    What is wrong with us?
    Our national parks are so sidelined that it can’t buy toilet paper – but that is just a symptom.
    We want to destroy what we have not yet destroyed. And if not, at least put a human stamp on what remains, turn it into a commodity so it becomes an ATM for a few of us, for a short time.
    All across the world there is a crisis because of this same attitude to nature. But here in the BVI we have our own special issues around it. We actually hate it. People want to get as far from nature as they can. We want to destroy it in favour of dollars and fake, superficial distractions, and pretend that the actual crisis humans have created and are now feeling through storms like Irma – dead reefs, no fish, etc etc. – are somehow ‘their’ problem. It doesn’t apply to us because … we are too small, we are black and the scientists and tourists are white, etc etc. So many stupid reasons to ignore a major crisis.
    I feel for the NPT, and for people using their facilities who don’t have toilet paper when they need it! But trust me, this is a symptom of our bigger sickness. We need to turn and look at it, fast. Otherwise no tourism, and, of course, more Irma’s to come.

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  8. Captain BVI says:

    If only we could tap into the mysterious Environmental Fund that takes $10 from every visitor. Wouldn’t that make sense?

    Like 38
  9. Miss Confusion says:

    We all are staring at the problem full in the face……..Pictures dont lie…..LOL

    Like 16
    Dislike 3
  10. Classic says:

    What else would one expect to hear, alas….

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  11. Horseman says:

    Oh lordy, guess we won’t be gettin any life guards at them baths beach then. there and other beach need life guard so bad, sad

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  12. Jane says:

    Entry to the Baths should be about $15 to $20 for non-residents. This is a unique, World beating attraction and we are giving it away for less than the cost of a pate. If some people do not want to pay, then perhaps you open it up for free for one afternoon (an afternoon which has the lowest numbers of cruise ships usually to encourage their docking). The Baths should produce enough revenue to fund the rest of the parks and make them free/very low cost to enjoy.

    Getting the Botanical Gardens opened in Road Town could also drive revenue. Create a simple cafe/events space in a pre-fabricated building which could then be leased to a commercial operator for a good market rent. The Botanic Garden would be a nice spot for lunch, or for a wedding or corporate party.

    Like 25
    Dislike 1
  13. Ouch! says:

    Lady,it seems like nobody wants you in that position LOL and i agree with them. What a complete waste….

    Like 10
  14. QE2 park says:

    The QE2 park is disgraceful, closed for 2 years when it was so popular so beautiful and so used by people walking for health and getting some fresh air with their family. With the track now closed to the public (until its dark at 6.30pm) there is literally nowhere to exercise that doesnt involve traffic. For the cruise ship passengers there could be a lovely board walk from the Pier to QE2 , its all they need but instead i see them wandering round long bush wondering why BVI is so ugly!

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  15. Nonsense says:

    She is the biggest problem!

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  16. @Jane says:

    These people only go to Colleges for vacation. They come back with fancy degrees but are dense as a concrete wall! They go to SFC every single year with the same petty bulls**t, no ideas, no forward thinking, no solutions, nothing. While they collect a massive salary for 25 years then collect a massive pension after that, which they don’t have to contribute one cent. The BVI has a rude awakening coming its way and it has nothing to do with UK taking over. REALITY is what’s taking over slowly but surely.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  17. Big Richard says:

    Why is it that all the departments are now claiming that their short staffed and need help ? Seems like a coordinated effort directed by Sl**ande to fatten up the bloated government before the UK takes over. Can’t wait until they do.

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  18. Get over it. says:

    If she was a man she’d be seen as assertive, great. But alas she’s a woman with a brain, so she’s the Wicked Witch from the East. Get over yourselves. If there is no money, there is no money. Should she go out and sell her body so we can have toilet paper and life guards? How about one of the big non profits do one of those $150 a plate dinners as a fundraiser for the National Parks. It might not fund all, but it might fund some. The Botanical Gardens could have been making money except that the employees, for many years, are not interested in being responsible for opening or closing the gates on week ends. So I agree that it should be leased to someone that can run an events venue. Wonderful things have been set up in that park and they could happen again. But one hand can’t clap. Instead of complaining about this lady, why not come up with a plan, approach the NPT see if it can fly. They may have restrictions but nothing beats a trial but a failure. I’m so sick of all the pissing and moaning in this little place. If you coming to complain, come with a solution. That would be more impressive. The government paid to put up the “Tortola” sign in the part of the park they are responsible for and then what? Grass growing up all around the sign. Someone cutting grass this week and where are they cutting? Up against the fence when the little old side walk is grown up in bush on both sides where our precious, highly sought tourists, not to mention us taxpayers would walk. Whoever looking for votes whenever election is called is going to have to come hard because whatever is happening now and whoever is responsible, and that’s no one, isn’t impressive at all.

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  19. Dumb k**t says:

    When man lookin wrk n checkin back yall aint saying s**t buh look f*k here yall sime wicked ppl almost 1.5 lookin wrk

  20. She is the problem!! says:

    I know of a young lady that went for an interview to be a part of the staff and she made that girl wait for times all because of her personal issues. She don’t care about no one but herself.

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
  21. Staffing the best excuse. says:

    Stop making excuses and get the people to work, or get people who wants to work..When you have 5 people who love their work and want to work, those 5 will produce more than ten who shows up loitering, talking and on phone all the time,, To me staffing excuse is nothing more than a fail management excuse..

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  22. Hard says:

    Want to find another horrible head of department, take a look at Tourism board. What a waste.

  23. vg resident says:

    So the tourist has to pay the $10 environmental fund while the local who is coming from abroad does not have to pay. Why?

  24. Fund raising says:

    Apartment from the government nipple i can immediately think of i) enforcing entry fees (Sage Mountain?) ii) fund raising, no need for humongous expensive events, how about membership, NP goods for sale, charity drives iii) volunteer drive for maintenance iv) retiring pensioners and recruiting young blood – i could go on but i/m not the director. Seems a lot of laziness to me.

  25. Business Manager says:

    The problem is for decades we keep putting a bunch of environmentalist and scientist in charge of the NPT.

    The parks can pay for themselves and more. Put a person that has an ounce of business and strategic sense in place at the NPT and you will see a difference.

  26. ... says:

    Needs to stop it when I went looking for a job I couldnt even get a meeting.

    Director’s dissatisfaction with the small three-dollar fee to enter the territory’s national parks.

    Not only that this is bad minded thinking. People helped repair the parks for free after Irma.

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