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Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Representatives of Malaysian investor Tan Kay Hock, and officials of the West Indian Co. Ltd. and at Government House, are saying little about the status of negotiations for the Long Bay landfill and the future development of the Yacht Haven area.
Tan purchased the Yacht Haven Hotel and marina in 1997, with extensive plans to develop and enlarge the facility. Activity has been stalled, however, while Tan negotiates either a lease or purchase of the Long Bay landfill, which WICO owns.
WICO spokesmen Calvin Wheatley said Monday that the company was aware of rumors circulating in the territory that Tan was or had recently been on St. Thomas.
"We heard he was on the island, too, but to the best of our knowledge, he hasn't been here," Wheatley said. "He hasn't been in touch with us in person. There has been some correspondence."
Wheatley said talks with the Malaysian investor are at about the same point they were last Christmas when the V.I. Public Finance Authority warned WICO that the lack of progress on negotiations could cause Tan to lose interest in the Yacht Haven development and take his business elsewhere.
WICO President and CEO Edward Thomas responded sharply to the PFA's warning, saying Tan's negotiators were making "take-it-or-leave-it" type offers that were unfairly slanted in the company's favor.
"There hasn't been much of a change since then," Wheatley said.
WICO may issue a statement on the Yacht Haven negotiations later this week, he added.
A representative for Tan on St. Thomas declined to comment when contacted by the Source on Monday.
At his first PFA meeting after taking office earlier this year, Gov. Charles Turnbull said his administration was leaving the door open for Tan's development. Government House, however, did not return a call Monday asking about its involvement in the negotiations.
The proposed hotel-marina-commercial development was lauded by former Gov. Roy L. Schneider as a $200 million-plus project that would provide a significant economic boost to St. Thomas.
But some in the community — most fervently the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands — have expressed concerns about the size of Tan's proposed development, though to date no details have been made public. However, environmentalists say the Long Bay area — both land and sea– cannot withstand the environmental disruption or added traffic congestion of any massive project.

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