BVI News

Willy T to return to Norman Island, must meet ‘health and safety’ criteria

The Willy-T

The William Thornton Floating Bar and Restaurant more widely known as the Willy T will be heading back to its original location off the Bight on Norman Island.

Government said in a media release on Thursday that the iconic floating bar must “meet various environmental, health and safety criteria” before they can return to the location.  

“The Marine Estate Policy confers the authority on the Crown and the Crown alone to decide how the seabed is to be used. After studying the matter very carefully, we have agreed that this is the best location for the Willy-T,” Minister for Natural Resources Vincent Wheatley said.

Government. in the meantime, noted that the various government agencies responsible for health, trade and the environment will work with the owners of the Willy T regarding its transition back to its original location.

“The ‘Willy T’ has been operating in the Virgin Islands for over 35 years, providing a unique experience to visitors and locals alike and has become a very important component of our tourism offerings. The government of the Virgin Islands expects that the legendary floating restaurant and bar will continue to provide the same level of enjoyment as it has over the years, and for many more years to come in the territory,” it added.

The government media release further indicated that the Willy T will serve as part of the territory’s artificial reef system, allowing “diving enthusiasts to continue to enjoy the floating restaurant and bar “from an entirely new and different perspective”.

The Willy-T saga

The Willy T operated for decades off The Bight at Norman Island before they were evicted due to a significant undertaking that was scheduled to take place on the privately-owned island.

Not long after relocating to Great Harbour on Peter Island, they were given another eviction notice requiring them to move by the end of 2018.

However, for an unknown reason, the restaurant remained at Peter Island while talks of other areas were being examined.

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46 Comments

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  1. Mick Mars says:

    Nice for them. Getting knocked about like that had to had been frustrating. The people them need a spot like that to go like and enjoy themselves.

    Hopefully they can do it responsibly without harming the environment but that remains to be seen.

    Like 21
  2. NDP Supporter says:

    VIP you have my support on this one.

    Like 29
    Dislike 2
  3. vip heckler says:

    Foy is really behaving like Donald Trump, reversing every decision that Dr.Smith made. Trump did Obama similar

    Like 24
    Dislike 28
    • yes sir says:

      all wilful spiteful acts he is doing just to suck it to them and then say he is mr fair childish behavior trump indeed

      Like 1
      Dislike 9
  4. cheers mate says:

    Welcome back jack…No more skinny dipping and jumping…No more body shots for bam bam bam bam (lol)…No more dumping of raw sewage…No more toilet paper on the sea bed floor…No more locals fighting…Will Zuess be back also???

    Like 6
    Dislike 10
  5. BIG QUESTION says:

    Will norman island owner continue with his 5 star hotel project?

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
    • STARS says:

      THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION. I WANT TO KNOW TOO

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
      • Hrmph says:

        That project never had anything to do with the Willy T. The owner was concerned that his beach bar would not be able to charge [more] for a painkiller if the Willy T was charging [less] just around the corner.

    • Lizzy says:

      No! Willy T is more important

      Like 8
      Dislike 3
    • Also says:

      I am also wondering

    • Ask Gov says:

      That’s a question for Government who, having studied “the matter very carefully, [we] have agreed that this is the best location for the Willy-T”. We hope this was in discussions with all relevant parties but Government should be able to say especially as a development agreement is in place with Norman Island.

  6. Dynamite says:

    anyone?

  7. STARS says:

    THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION. I WANT TO KNOW TOO

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  8. THANKS says:

    Thanks Hon FAHIE Administration!!! This was the only fair thing to do but the previous administration was blinded by friendship supposedly.

    Like 21
    Dislike 4
  9. Hellloooow says:

    Can some one please tell where does that boat empty its septic tank? Pleeease!

    Like 14
    Dislike 4
    • T city says:

      Good question as there have been reports over the years of turds floating around in the Bight and it is reported here – http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/govt-accuses-willy-t-of-illegal-waste-disposal
      – that they admitted to dumping waste in the Bight. We will hopefully have another announcement from Government as to the steps taken to ensure this kind of behaviour is not repeated/accommodated, and by 1 July 2019. A government that understands the value of tourism to the Territory will also understand the importance of protecting the environment, so we will wait to see what happens here. Moving them from one area of beauty and promise to another was a mindless act by the previous administration though.

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
      • @T city says:

        Still happening every day. Even with the new boat. The owner would rather keep money in his pocket then pay to have it pumped out.

        Ask him where the broken equipment goes when it stops working…it doesnt end up pockward pond.

    • Beatrice says:

      Do you not realize most boats in the BVIs dump their sewage into the water

    • Ivan says:

      The same place all the yachts, except a few crewed charter boats do, directly into the ocean. It is criminal that there are no holding tank requirements.

  10. i wonder says:

    So what we prefer, some drunken tourists and fist flinging locals or the 5 star hotel that will hire hundreds?????????????????

    Like 12
    Dislike 28
    • Biggie Boi says:

      But the hundreds they will hire will all require work permits. How many of us work as maids and cooks?

      Like 16
      Dislike 1
    • Don't be naive says:

      They will import them from abroad, and pay them less than they pay the locals. All big resorts bring in “seasonal” workers because “they can’t find the local talent”. Don’t be fooled.

  11. VIP heckler says:

    May be VIP should send over Labour Dept to check on work permits. Don’t see any locals working there!!

    Like 9
    Dislike 11
  12. 0 star says:

    Just when I thought BVI was raising its standards. This septic sea craft is a disgrace to our pristine natural beauty. I prefer a 5 star hotel.

    Like 9
    Dislike 30
  13. Blessed says:

    This was a disgrace what the smiths did to this business to please they old friend. God is great. He knows when to stamp out evil and corruption.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  14. What says:

    I’d really like to understand the point here as you seem to be saying that because only a few locals work as maids and cooks and the hotel will hire only people on work permits (cannot be true but let’s take this to its logical conclusion anyway), there’s no value to you or the wider BVI economy? Where will these hundreds live? Where will they buy food? To which Government will the hotel pay payroll tax, NHI and social security (that they will move away and leave in the system to make it one of the most monied in the region) for them? To which Government will they pay work permit fees? Which taxis will they use to get around? And for those who buy those RHD cars, which Government gets the benefit of the import duty? Not to mention the flip side of the actual business and the potential benefits for the Territory. It cannot be the case that we are this one-dimensional.

  15. Frequent BVI visitor says:

    Great to hear that 35 years of tenure means something, after all. Obviously, meeting health, safety, and the environmental requirements makes sense, for all. Granting permission to occupy the original location was absolutely the right and fair thing to do. Bravo to the BVI Government!

  16. VISITOR says:

    This makes me so happy! BVI. This makes me coming back for vacation soon! Really enjoyed the BVI how it once was, hope you will get back to it, safe, clean, friendly people and beautiful islands.

  17. Beatrice says:

    Every boat in the BVI’s dumps their sewage into the water.

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
  18. EU Citizen says:

    How about the government “meet various environmental, health and safety criteria” and stop burning toxic trash at Cox Heath and Pockwood Pond? Wouldn’t that be great for everyone west of those toxic dumps?

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
  19. Watching eyes says:

    … All chasing money from tourists that dont care about the future of this country all for cheep booze. And treating locals like c**p.

    Why 1 rule for whites and another for blacks??
    Our money isnt the same color green?

    He fillin his pockets while filling the water with s**t. Then trying to play the victim.

  20. jcarloshumfry says:

    Lot of opinions. Everybody think! This is a good thing, but they of course need to tow the lines. The willy T is an important cultural place and it brings people and their money. Locals we must admit that this is a necessity and embrace it, control it and take a little bad with the good it brings. Nothing is perfect, nothing is black and white. NO goodness or progress comes without compromise. Oh and, is favoring any local or racial interest not cronyism from another point of view?

  21. Tom from the States says:

    Tourism is the lifeblood of the BVI. The Willie T is a significant part of the boating tourism. Control the waste from the boat and let the Willie T be! A bare boob or two out on a boat in the bight hurts nobody. If you don’t like it then don’t go.

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