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CORAL BAY THE QUEEN OF THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS IS UNDER ATTACK HEADED FOR AN ECOLOGICAL APOCALYPSE


NEW YORK, October 30, 2014   “Save Coral Bay” is crying out from the last Virgin Queen of  the United States Virgin Island’s crown of jewels ,  an undeveloped and unspoiled laidback  village where a “traffic jam” refers to a herd of goats or donkeys who roam freely sharing Coral Bay’s one road. Despite this  growing outcry from Coral Bay’s community and thousands of Coral Bay lovers from around the world,  developers  aim to seize  and conquer this gem for their own misguided Mega Yacht Marina, “Summers End”, designed to cater exclusively to the ultra-rich, accommodating yachts of 200 feet or more.  

Coral Bay, is a unique body of water on the southeastern side of St. John, US Virgin Islands. Surrounded on three sides by lands of the Virgin Islands National Park and to the south by Coral Reef National Monument, this body of water has been blessed with low-impact use for centuries, until now, as this storm brews with developers circling and islanders and global citizens unite to Save Coral Bay.

The fringing mangroves are nursery for lemon and black tip shark, sea turtles, and marine life abound. The majestic and awesome powers of migratory humpback whales cruise the deep water just outside the Coral Bay Harbor every winter unaware that their natural ecosystems that they have called home is on the brink of destruction.

This unspoiled Virgin Queen of the USVI, Coral Bay which has continued to be a natural protector and defender of this pristine ecosystem is fighting for her life as island residents and global citizens join as one to Save Coral Bay.  The local Coastal Zone Management (CZM) committee approved permits for the onslaught to begin regardless of proper oversights in legislative measures and passed the application without comment.

In Nashville, joining the outcry to “Save Coral Bay”, is Angela “Gigi” de Lugo, a fourth –generation Virgin Islander, feature film producer, award winning music executive, Founder of Tropic Heat Studios, and daughter of the Honorable Ron de Lugo, to whom the U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in St Thomas is named honoring his twenty years in Washington, DC serving as the Virgin Islands First Delegate to Congress.

“For the first time in history, residents of Coral Bay, St John have access to the internet, making it possible to organize and communicate vital information and news of events affecting that Virgin Islands’ community in our own words and in real-time directly to islanders living stateside and others who have personal  ties to Coral Bay. The “Save Coral Bay” outcry grew from continued frustration and outrage following the Oct. 1st CZM approval given to the marina’s development plan.   “states Angela “Gigi” de Lugo.

With extensive public outrage, the development group shocked the Coral Bay community with a proposal to build a 145 slip MEGA YACHT MARINA in the heart of Coral Bay Harbor, over 30 acres of harbor bottom, with 1,333 steel pilings that will be driven into the precious sea bed which will kill Coral Bay, destroying the habitat and creating a shockwave through the delicate eco-system, predicted wildlife casualties are overwhelming and have been called an apocalypse. 

“It is my understanding that the application process and subsequent approval by CZM warrants investigation - it goes beyond reason that this proposal would be so effortlessly approved requiring no modifications. Islanders (residents, businesses owners, and many families who have been there since before the U.S. purchased the islands in 1917 from Denmark) are painfully aware of our local government’s disappointing identity as ranking among the most corrupt in the U.S and the impact that brings on our small community. “    stated de Lugo; “The disastrous reality this massive marina development will have is going to affect not only the current residents and visitors to Coral Bay, not only the ecosystem of Coral Bay, or forever destroy one of the last remaining regions where one can still take a step-back in time and enjoy a truly unique tropical island experience - it will prove without a doubt  the local and federal laws in place to protect and serve as guardian over this process - in truth, hold no power and are useless within the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is a wholly unacceptable standard for the Virgin Islands to continue demonstrating in this day and age” Angela “Gigi” de Lugo explains.

Save Coral Bay is an all-volunteer group working ceaselessly in their efforts to put a stop to this marina’s development.  On Monday, Oct 27th, U.S.V.I. Delegate to Congress, Donna Christensen, who is currently running for Governor in local elections, received a round of applause and cheers from Save Coral Bay activists during her campaign stop in Coral Bay. 

In keeping with their social media platform for disseminating information via Facebook, Gigi de Lugo posted the following announcement on her personal page early Tuesday morning:

        “David Silverman - Spokesperson for the Save Coral Bay group related Donna M. Christensen's  actual comments to us via our #SaveCoralBay Facebook discussion Group last night.(this is where people from the USVI, USA, & other parts of the world are holding our discussions Pro Save Coral Bay )  she did follow up on questioning about her words and characterizing of size, with an assertion that she wasn't parsing words. It was a pretty courageous campaign decision to come to Coral Bay 8 days before the election and schedule an event at Cocoloba. (in Coral Bay, St John, USVI) She and Ottley took questions from us, face to face, handing the microphone back and forth with us. " When pressed, Donna made a clear unequivocal statement that she would not sign the trust land permit for the SEG marina unless it was substantially smaller and supported by a majority of Coral Bay ... That's what she said in front of a crowd of around 50 people"-David Silverman

“I would liken this to St. John’s   8 Tuff Miles Annual Marathon  where their finish line is Coral Bay, by saying ~  Our fight is far from over, this process is very likely to go on for a year or more, making it vital that we gain support from any and all who are willing to stand up and add their voice to Save Coral Bay. This is not a sprint for the weak, rather it is a marathon for those who are inspired to champion what many of us believe to be a defining moment in Virgin Islands’ history “ ~ Gigi de Lugo 

If this fight to save Coral Bay fails then the rest of the US Virgin Islands are wide open for the same destruction as big developers eye their prize of complete domination in the US Virgin Islands regardless of the potential casualties some might leave in their wake, putting profits over pristine eco-environments.

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Media Contact: Melissa Mc Comas

Tsunami Worldwide Media

Tel: (410) 472-2123 and 1-888-507-3128 PRESS HOTLINE

melissa@tsunamiproductions.com

The Save Coral Bay Informational Website: www.SaveCoralBay.com

To learn more about SAVE CORAL BAY - please visit: Gigi de Lugo’s personal BLOG Designed for All Ages www.NashvilleUSVI.com

Tropic Heat Studios Website: www.TropicHeatStudios.com

Photo Credits Acknowledged:

(Lithograph of Coral Bay, from a painting by Robert H. Schomburgk dated 1833 [Image courtesy Michael and Jane Sheen Collection])

THE HISTORICAL IMAGE OF CORAL BAY - http://stjohnhistoricalsociety.org/a-few-words-about-our-website-home-page-images/

AND

STEVE SIMONSEN PHOTOGRAPHY - for more about Steve Simonsen:  

https://www.facebook.com/SteveSimonsenPhotography