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Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeCommentaryOpen forumOpen forum: Protect Magens Bay for Posterity

Open forum: Protect Magens Bay for Posterity

Magens Bay, St. Thomas (Source file photo)

Here we go again! It seems that every 10 or 20 years, some group decides to challenge the gift that was given to the people of the Virgin Islands by Mr. Arthur Fairchild, a gift to pass down from generation to generation … as though it is deemed that we are not worthy of that gift. I am old enough to remember the fight to not allow a resort to be built on the nearby hillsides and, also, the struggle to maintain free access to all beaches for the local population… So here we go again!

I am a fourth-generation Virgin Islander whose joy [it] is to return home at least twice a year, and like many other Virgin Islanders can’t wait to go and soak in the waters of Magens Bay as soon as we get there. I adamantly feel that yachts have no place there. Choose another bay.

The authorities have already ascertained that the sea beds are practically nonexistent in the bay due to erosion. Just think of what will happen with increased traffic at the mouth of the bay. Officials have also admitted that they do not have the resources to adequately enforce the rule that yachts stay no longer than three days. How much longer will it be before we see waste, human and otherwise washing up on the shores of Magens Bay? The ecosystem in the bay is already disturbed enough.

Virgin Islanders are not alone in this fight to preserve the waters that surround the islands. In the South of France where there are thousands of yachts, there are no yachts anchored outside the beaches of Cannes and Nice. The yachts have anchorage outside and away from the beaches where locals and tourists go every day.

In Venice, Italy, the Venetians finally got fed up with huge cruise ships entering their main port of San Marco which contributed to erosion of their iconic ancient buildings. Cruise ships are now barred from anchoring in that main port. The Venetians won that battle.

Legislators need to act now and put a mandate in place that will protect Magens Bay for posterity. They are elected by our people to protect not only the people but also the resources that contribute to their quality of life. Keep in mind that our people in subsidized housing look forward to escaping their substandard living apartments to spend time with their families on the weekend in the fresh air and mold-free enjoyment of Magens Bay.

We have never had a problem with sharing our iconic treasure with tourists and visitors to our islands, in fact, we are very proud to do so as we recognize the precious gem we have been given. Therefore, in protecting Magens Bay for us, we are protecting it for everyone. Let us refrain from the trap of putting the dollar first to the detriment of the local population. It will eventually come back to bite us.

The local fishermen who anchor their small boats at the northeastern end of the bay have been grandfathered into those moorings and should not be displaced. They have earned their right to be there.

So, in the words of the great Bob Marley, “Get up, stand up, stand up for your right; get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight.”


Anna Mae Brown Comment, St. Thomas, USVI/Wellington, Fla.

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