Owner of the famous William Thornton (Willy T) Floating Bar & Restaurant, Ewan Anderson says he is willing to legally fight for the vessel to remain off The Bight on Norman Island.
The new and improved floating restaurant 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.
But, according to Anderson, when he visited Her Majesty’s Customs at the Tortola Pier Park, he was told he had to seek another location to do business.
He said he felt ‘physical pain’ at the shocking news and said moving Willy T from The Bight is “unthinkable”.
He further said the location at Norman Island is ideal for his line of business.
“Having travelled more than 1,600 miles by sea, spent half-a-million dollars on the new Willy T to be told by [Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism] Dr Orlando Smith and Archibald Christian [the Junior Minister of Tourism], that there was a new development in The Bight and they [the developers] do not want the new Willy T anchored there,” he said.
When asked if he plans to take the matter to court, Anderson said: “If it comes to that I have some friends that could help me, yes,” Anderson told BVI News on Friday, May 11.
Issue was raised before
Anderson said the government first broached the subject of Willy T relocating after Hurricane Irma.
However, he said there were no further discussions on the matter.
“I was told that there would be further meetings with the developers. That never happened and I presumed that everything was ok. We have to find out legally what the situation is because nobody has the rights to the sea including the Willy T but, theoretically, nobody can tell us to move,” he added.
Willy T is iconic
Anderson said he remains hopeful Willy T will be allowed to return to Norman Island.
“We have been there for 35 years. We are an icon, the people come to the BVI because of the Willy T. I am willing to talk to them to work out a deal with them because the Willy T will be the attraction to anything. I am willing to work with them,” he said.
Anderson said he is waiting on further word from the government today.
Efforts to contact Premier Smith and Junior Minister Christian have been unsuccessful.
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