Recently, The BVI Chief Minister and Minister responsible for Tourism Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal signed a partnership agreement with marine advocate Jean-Michel Cousteau, founder of Ocean Futures Society and son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau.
"He is going to be the spokesman for the BVI on matters pertaining to the marine life…of the BVI," Chief Minister O’Neal said at the signing. "As I always say, we have more sea than land and therefore the potential for water oriented tourism is very great here in the BVI and we have not been doing very much about it because we didn’t have the people who could do it."
He said it is time to move forward on this crucial economic and environmental issue. The partnership between the BVI and Cousteau seeks to develop awareness of the uniqueness of the BVI’s marine world, which is spread over 59 square miles. It will in addition help to launch a world-class marine center at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
Chief Minister O’Neal says that he sees a lot of possibilities with this new partnership, especially in the area of eco-tourism for Anegada.
Cousteau said there is a lot that needs to be done in the area of protecting the environment and the new marine center at the HLSCC will allow the BVI to be at the forefront of research before the end of 2003.
In addition, Cousteau is proposing that the BVI establish a sustainable reef project from the college’s marine center in order to serve the nations of the Caribbean.