This present controversy between a minor government department and a sector of the general public – the marine community – has had many re-runs over the years. In 2012 the DPNR made an active ‘push’ to increase Anchoring and Mooring Fees. Director Tapia, at that time (2012) tried to dramatically increase the fees.
All boaters currently pay $5 a foot to moor their boats for a year. That price will rise to $25 a foot for live-aboard boats 16 to 26 feet long; to $30 a foot for live-aboard boats 26 to 40 feet long ($780 to $1,200); to $35 a foot for live-aboard boats 40 to 65 feet long ($1,400 to $2275); and $40 a foot for live-aboard boats more than 65 feet long. (https://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2012/07/19/increase-boating-fees-proposed)
The USVI Marine Community attended the 2012 meetings that were held on St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix in large numbers. The members of these communities – ‘marine businesses, yachts clubs, charter yachts and live-aboard residents’ – were so outraged by such a clumsy and unwanted fee increase that they very vocally protested at the meetings.
The arrest of Director Tapia put a halt to that attempt to raise fees.
But now, 3 years later, we – the marine community – are faced with yet another attempt to raise fees for the purpose of increasing policing.
So, since the marine community and the marine public are so consistently opposed to this legislation, one must ask, “What executive decision-making process does the DPNR use to attempt to come to the conclusion that this legislation is needed and wanted?”
It should also be asked, “How can the waste of time and public funds be justified to continue the attempt to push for this unwanted legislation?”
There is a very simple solution – for an Ad Hoc committee of citizens from the marine community to liase and consult with the DPNR, to ensure that any proposed legislation will be accepted by the community, at which it is aimed.
The Anchoring and Mooring Act already contains such a requirement. Obviously, it has been ignored, ever since its promulgation by Governor Farrely in 1992.
Section 403-3 Appointment of Ad-Hoc Community Committees:
The Commissioner is authorized and directed to appoint persons, who are residents of the Virgin Islands, from each of the areas affected, to serve on the Ad-Hoc Community Committee for respective areas.
This is quite clear, The Commissioner of the DPNR is … directed to appoint persons … from each of the areas affected, to serve on the Ad-Hoc Committee …
Stan Louden, St. Thomas
An Ad Hoc Committee Is Essential
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.
Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.