The Daily News. Friday. June 4. 1909
A little bit of history on the Carambola property
For the past few months. the
issue of the Carambola property
has been in the news.
Many people approached me to
find out my opinion about Jeffrey
Proasser purchasing the Caramnbols
'*ra of all, the name Carambola
is nisleading to the Virgin Islands
pistlc. Carambol is the name
glv's to (he golf ourse area In the
early VSO'S by the developers who
purchased a l.le over 4.000 acres
of St. Coix's northwest land
sometime in 1983 from the
In 1990. 1 stated In an article in
the Virgin Islands Daily News. "...
an outside developer tried to pur-
chase Fountain Valley on St.
Croix. which was really 17 etames
Including such estates as Sweet
Bottom. ARnaly. Mount Stewart.
Ross Hill and so on.
It was some 4.000 abre t of pri-
marily agricultural land Including
rtestlandsh sleep slopes, mou n-
lainn, tich fetisle soils, flood plains
and beachfront*. This area was
alsole known ot slave rtovoll
which made the area sentimental
to Virgin Islanders beside the nat-
ural beauty of the land"
I further stated, "Today, this area
is owned by CaramboLa Beach
Rosen Real Estate Sales. Some
people then and now believe that
the Virgin Islands government and
some of our senaLtors sold their
birthright when Fountain Valley
was purchased by an Outside
For those who wanted to know
why I didn't say anything about the
so-called Carambolai property
from the beginning when Prosser
made his interest known publicly
about purchasing the property is
because I was involved personally
from 1983 to educate the public
that the northwest should be
owned by the Ipeople of the Virgin
My protests and others n the
early 1980s fell on deaf ears. In
fact, the Rockefeller family I was
told offered the property to the
Virgin Islands government before
it went on the market for sale.
I love my government, but
somehow this government has
poor eye siglt for the future of the
people of thoe islands.
Today, here e are talking about
the same property thai was oifeted
to the government many years ago.
Nonetheless, let us get bck to the
name Carambola. If you ask an old
Cruclan where is Fountain Valley
located, he or she can tell you.
On the cuan note. if you ask an
old Cruecian where Carmbol Is
located, he or she may have no
idea of what you ar talking about.
Too often, we are easily being
misled when we don't know our
history. You see. if we know our
history collectively, we would not
have been misled when somebody
wanted to cell us a 6 for a 9.
History Is always the key I
believe for Opening up the doears of
the future. As a people, we will
continue to be misled as long a
we don't question things, and as
long a we take thing sitting
The 2.800 acres Is not
Carambola. The Carambola prop-
erty falls within the Fountain
Carambola is a small section of
the 2.800 acres, which Includes
other northwest side estates. Jake
Jacobus purchased the remaining
of the 4.000 acros in 1983.
That Is why I -medonod earlier
if we Sknew.our history then you
would understand why the north-
west of St. Croix should mean lot
to the people of these islands par-
ticularly Crucians. This 2.800
acres are extremely historical, cul-
turld. and environmentally sensi.
To me it is interesting that the
Rockefellerw aobd the 4.000 acres
to Jacobus for SI0 million.
Whereas, they donaled land in St.
John to the people of the Virgin
Islands, thus creating the Virgin
Islands National Partk System.
Lurance S. Rockefeller. for the
40th anniversary of the Virgin
Island& National Piark. stated, "The
Patk is one of the crown jewels of
the National Park System. and for
fu decades it has provided mil-
lions of visitors as oxtsaordlary
environmental and recreational
experience under the American
flag in the Caribbean setting.
JackHon Hole Preserve Inc. and I
have been proud to have a pat In
the creation of this great
In 195S. Laurance Rockefeoller
mentioned In a letter to John
Schofield, "I grow up with a fami-
ly tradition of conservation ... the
possibility of setting a part of St.
John aside for future generations
first came up in 1939. With World
War II the plan wasit shelved. Then
a couple of years ago one of my
Island neighbors. Frank Stick, sent
me a copy of the original proposal
and suggested that the idea be
-We had never met, but I agreed
thar we should gte together and
discuss the possibility. To m
complete surprise, Stick rounded
up signed options on about half the
land we needed ... We've spent
about SI million on the land and
expect to spend as much more to
complete the Job."
This tradition of conservation
with the Rockefeller family began
in 1886 with John D. Rockofller
Jr. who visited Yellowstone
National Park as a little boy.
To make a long story short. the
Rockefeller family gave millions
of dollars over the years to parks in
our nation as well a the Virgin
Islands National Park.
We cannot thank the Rockefeller
family enough for their foresight
and wisdom for establishing the
park on St. John.
In the back of my mind. I've
always said, "why the Rockefeller
family didn't donate the 4.000
acres or some of it to become a
park as t was done on St. John in
1956 for bthe people of th Virgin
I don't have the answer. Anyway.
Jacobus was discouraged in the
early 1980s about purchasing the
4.000 acres. This was due to few
people who opposed the idea of anr
outside developer owning all that
primary agricultural land on the
norhside of the island. Well. for-
mer Gov. Juan P. Luis called a spe-
cial session and Mr. Jacobus got
the 4.000 aresm rezoned from agri-
culture to other uses.
Jacobus or the company he rep-
resented made an agreement to
preserve land on the norehside
when they went in front of the zon-
AThe i apronal conferred by sac-
tion 2 of his act is expressly sub-
ject to the condition that Deray
Land Inc.. Its successors and
assigns, shall establish open
space in an amount not less than
50 perlem of the total acres con-
sisting of 4,140 acres. more or less
particularly described in Table 7 of
the 'Zoning Amendment
Application' filed by Delray LanId
Inc.,d approved by the Virgin
Islands Planning Office on
October 27. 1983. in the 'Report
on Proposed Amendment to
Official Zoning Map no. SCZ
4&S' of which not less than 1.000
acres shall be dedicated to a per-
petual scenic and preservation
Mine you, this is the same land
Prosser is talking about purchas-
Th articlNe reflc trt view of
01w Oaris. a St. Croix ecol.o-
gist. activist and writer who has a
mater, of science deree I congeo
nranagement and/foresrry ecology.