A towering retaining wall separates the gas station under construction in Estate Bethany along South Shore Road, left, from the remainder of property claimed by the heirs of Edward “‘Power” Boyd, right. Dr. Monica Boyd Richards, Boyd’s daughter and a retired U.S. Army attorney, is asking V.I. officials to stop the construction of the service station on the land the family still owns.
St. Johnian Dr. Monica Boyd Richards went to the Tuesday, February 18, meeting at the office of the Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources hoping to get the assistance of government officials in stopping a major commercial construction project on Boyd family property overlooking the Westin Resort on Great Cruz Bay.
Dr. Richards now is waiting for V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer to direct the V.I. Police Department to stop further construction on the project on her family property over the construction project on Boyd family land handed down from her late father Edward “Power” Boyd.
Ironically, many of the agency and department heads who were expected failed to attend the meeting in the office of Department of Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Alicia Barnes to discuss Dr. Richards’ stand-off with the developers of the South Shore Road gas station.
Most of the government officials who were expected to attended the meeting, which had been called by government officials, failed to show — and those who did weren’t about to make any decisions until the were prodded by VIPD Commissioner Rodney Querrard, according to Dr. Richards.
DPNR Comissioner, Others Miss Meeting
DPNR Commissioner Barnes herself did not make the meeting with Dr. Richards at her office.
“The commissioner of DPNR did not come; Commissioner of Public Works Mr. Smalls did not come; (Director Mae) Adams (Cornwall) did not come from Waste Management; Public Works Assistant Commissioner Aubain did come,” Dr. Richards told Tradewinds.
Several of the government officials who did attend the meeting with Dr. Richards openly wondered why there was any question about the ownership of the property since the V.I. government itself has already acknowledged the Boyd family’s ownership of the property by moving government property and a wastewater pumping station from the contested property, Dr. Richards said.
A native St. Johnian and retired U.S. Army attorney, Dr. Richards is a daughter of the late Edward “Power” Boyd, who left his heirs major land holdings in Estate Bethany and neighboring Estate Sans Souci and Guinea Ghutt, encompassing much of the valley overlooking Great Cruz Bay and the Westin Resort.
The meeting had been called by government officials after Dr. Richards went public in Tradewinds with her land dispute over family property in Estate Bethany on St. John which Territorial Court Judge Marie Cabret has affirmed was part of the extensive south shore estate of Richards’ late father Edward “Power” Boyd which estate Cabret probated.
“The gas station has no warranty deed,” Dr. Richards asserted. “DPNR cannot give you any permit until you own the land.”
“Even the government has to have a lease or ownership or right of use to do a government project,” added Dr. Richards who reiterated that the family was not interested in selling the property on which the gas station is being built.
“It’s not for sale,” Dr. Richards said of the contested parcel which is now split by a towering concrete retaining wall supporting the excavation for the roadside service station on the steep hill.
Dr. Richards has objected to DPNR permitting the continued construction of the service station on the road side parcel excavated out of her family’s hillside property extending along South Shore Road from near the top of Jacob’s Ladder that Dr. Richards has established was probated in her late father’s estate and never sold or leased to anyone else by the family.
VIPD Commissioner Asks for AG Ruling
The dispute has lead to clashes between Dr. Richards and the developer of the service station resulting in police involvement and formal complaints which V.I. Police Department Commissioner Rodney Querrard insisted at the February 18 meeting that V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer’s office address.
“I reminded him (Frazer) that the Governor sent him to take care of this 23 months ago,” Dr. Richards told Tradewinds.
“I told him (VIPD Comm. Querrard) I am not going through it all over again.” Dr. Richards said.
DPW Assistant Commissioner Aubain reaffirmed his agencies’ prior recognition of the Boyd Estate’s claim on the contested property and his department’s previous removal of trash collection bins and a wastewater pumping station from the same Boyd estate property on which DPNR gave the developer of the massive service station project permission to build, according to Dr. Richards.
“They have not given the new director of permits for DPNR, Bevin Smith a true picture,” Dr. Richards told Tradewinds after the meeting. “That forced the Attorney General to bring out his file.”
“The government has already moved millions of dollars worth of construction from the same property,” Dr. Richards said. “It cost over $225,000 when they removed the waste management pump station.”
Judge Identifies Property as Probated
St. John Tradewinds reported February 17 that V.I. Probate Judge Marie Cabret had also reiterated that she had probated the property in contention for the Estate of Dr. Richards late father, Edward “Power” Boyd, who owned much of Estates Bethany and Sans Souci and Guinea Ghutt on the south shore of St. John overlooking Great Cruz Bay and what is now the Westin Resort.
Judge Cabret has recused herself from Dr. Richard’s legal action, Monica Boyd-Richard vs. No. 481-1 Chocolate Hole Realty LLC. and Nadal Salem Race Track Gas is now awaiting reassignment to another judge.
Judge Validates Claim
Judge Mackay, however, did provide Atty. Richards with some additional legal validation of her claim of ownership of the parcel involved in her legal action against the development which abuts her family property, an Action for a Temporary Restraining Order, Injunctive Relief, Declaratory Judgment and Damages, Reversion Trespass and Damages, Civil No. ST-13-INJ-0000001.
“ …the undersigned hereby RECUSES herself from the… matter to avoid the appearance of impropriety as while in private practice she probated the Estates of Edward Power Boyd and Sara Boyd from which remainder Parcel No. 1 (a/k/a Parcel No. 1-W) Estate Bethany, St. John, Virgin Islands, was distributed to Monica Boyd Richards and others… ,” Judge McKay wrote in her recusal order.
“… the aforesaid parcel appears to be the precise parcel that Monica Boyd-Richards asserts is being damaged by the Defendants,” Judge Mackay wrote in the order to recuse herself.
Dr. Richard was called to the February 18 meeting and told she could bring whomever she wants to the meeting. Although she said she wanted to bring her pastor and a Tradewinds reporter, it was not clear whether the potential presence of a reporter may have kept some officials away.
Those officials who did attend seemed to have no argument with her, Dr. Richards said.
“The Attorney General heard us all and he’s going to give us a written report,” Dr. Richards said.