STATEMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THE ELLIS THOMAS DOWNS
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to continuing efforts to resolve all outstanding issues with the Thomas family regarding the use of their land, which forms a part of Ellis Thomas Downs. The public is advised that negotiations are currently ongoing. The Government looks forward to those negotiations continuing in good faith between all parties involved.
In these circumstances, it is not the Government’s intention to engage in any protracted public debate on issues, which are likely to arise during the negotiations. Indeed, Government considers that to do so, at this stage, may well be counter-productive or prejudicial. This notwithstanding, following the statements to the press by the Thomas family, Government considers it necessary to publicly respond in an effort to bring clarity to certain matters, for the record.
A meeting with the Thomas family took place on 8th September 2022.
The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss a rent review. Unfortunately, shortly after the meeting commenced, the Honourable Premier and other Ministers present had to excuse themselves due to certain developments concerning the late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Members of the Attorney General’s Chambers and officers in the Ministry responsible for Crown Lands continued the meeting.
At the meeting, the Government representatives did not “cancel” the lease with the Thomas family. Rather, fundamental legal issues were raised and ultimately, the Thomas family indicated that they would not allow further use of their property. The family stated this to be a non-negotiable position, and the Government accepted. Accordingly, Government issued a public notice on the evening of 8 September 2022 advising the public not to use the property in question until further notice.
The inconvenience to the public is deeply regretted. Government remains committed to using its best endeavours to achieve a speedy resolution of all issues; however, any resolution must be fair to all parties involved and in the public’s interest.
Finally, Government also takes this opportunity to convey that it has been informed of threats against the Thomas family and condemns, in the strongest terms, any threats of violence made against the family. We expect that any such threats will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.