Home News Local news RHETORIC HEATS UP AS BEAL HEARING NEARS END

RHETORIC HEATS UP AS BEAL HEARING NEARS END

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The lawyers for Andrew Beal’s Caribbean Space Technologies rested their case Wednesday in Sen Alicia "Chucky" Hansen’s lawsuit against the company and the V.I. government’s land exchange agreement.
The hearing to determine whether a permanent injunction will be issued continues on Friday when Hansen’s lawyer, Ned Jacobs, presents his rebuttal. Over the last week, CST lawyers called Sens. David Jones and Anne Golden to the stand. Both senators are ardent supporters of Andrew Beal’s plans to build a 320,000-square-foot rocket assembly plant and world headquarters on the shores of St. Croix’s Great Pond Bay.
In order to build the proposed project, however, Beal, an affiliate of CST, needs 14.5 acres of government-owned land commonly called Camp Arawak. In exchange for the Camp Arawak land, the government would receive property owned by the company in Estate Whim and Grange Hill.
But opponents of the project argue that the land was deeded to the people of the Virgin Island in 1974 for the express purpose of being developed into a park. Hansen and 19 other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit that contends the government doesn’t have the authority to break the charitable land trust.
Meanwhile, as the case nears an end, the rhetoric has increased. Earlier this week, Wade Gates, director of corporate affairs for Beal Aerospace, took to the airwaves to say that despite the lawsuit, the majority of island residents support the project at Great Pond Bay. He also said that if Hansen is granted an injunction barring the land exchange, the company would appeal the decision.
"We are committed to seeing this through," he said. "Whatever the ultimate venue — Territorial, U.S. Appeals or the Supreme Court, We firmly believe the law is on our side."
Hansen, however, was just as resolute. She said Beal officials are claiming to have the law on their side to "confuse" the territory’s residents.
"I am equally committed to go to the highest court," she said. "Let me assure the people of the island . . . The land at Great Pond won’t go into the hands of Beal."

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