STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE VINCENT O. WHEATLEY
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, LABOUR & IMMIGRATION
TWELFTH SITTING OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
FRIDAY, 10TH JULY, 2020
CLOSURE OF GORDA PEAK
Mister Speaker, thank you for allowing me to make a brief statement on one of our National Parks, The Gorda Peak National Park. Gorda Peak was declared a national park in 1974 and is roughly 260 acres. It is a well-used park for both our residents and our visitors and we must do everything in our power to ensure that this and all our parks are preserved. They are sites of natural and historical resources which we must treasure!
Mister Speaker, unfortunately we have had to take a decision that The Gorda Peak National Park is now closed until further notice, effective July 8th, 2020. Based on recent field investigations by National Parks Trust Staff, it has been verified that there are several areas of Gorda Peak that have been illegally cleared for farming, along with the presence of construction supplies on site, and there is a foundation already established for a wooden building. This is being thoroughly investigated.
Mister Speaker, under the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands Regulations (2008), Section 14 (1) (d) No person shall, in a park, destroy, damage, remove, move, manipulate, tamper or attempt to tamper with any natural or historical resources or physical structures inside a park. Further, Under Section 14 (2) A person who contravenes sub-regulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.