Home News Local news Activist Withdraws Support for Hassel Island Tower

Activist Withdraws Support for Hassel Island Tower


Jan. 26, 2005 – After two years of avidly supporting a cell phone tower on Hassel Island, Edward "Harmon" Killebrew, community activist and longtime Hassel Island advocate, abruptly withdrew his support of the project earlier this week.
Cornelius Prior, Atlantic Tele-Network chief executive officer, was surprised when reached Wednesday afternoon. The first knowledge Prior had of Killebrew's action came from a newspaper story Wednesday.
Prior wants to construct a 93-foot communications tower atop Signal Hill at the south end of the island. The tower would be a monopole masthead monument to provide cell phone and cable television relay, especially for the downtown area. Killebrew went to Prior more than two years ago with his proposition and Prior agreed. According to Killebrew, in return for permission to construct the tower, Prior has provided an emergency response transportation vessel and the funding for a tour guide training program recently completed at the University of the Virgin Islands.
However, in a three-page "open letter to the community," dated Tuesday, Killebrew said he wanted to separate himself from any controversy and get on with his tours. The tower and a road leading up to the site have been strongly objected to by some in the community, notably Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli, whose family has a home on Hassel Island. (See "Hassel Island Tower – Welcoming Symbol or Blotch?").
Killebrew owns Island Treasures, the company that will conduct the tours.
Prior said Wednesday, "I agree with much of what Harmon said, but I am disappointed that he felt he had to give in the battle because I think it would be good for St. Thomas to have the greater communication access the tower would provide."
He added, "We are not going to abandon our efforts to persuade the Port Authority that it is a good thing for St. Thomas."
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