Dear Editor,

Brianne Beatty’s letter to you published March 17 may be right about one thing — The Bebop will attract curiosity-seekers who spend money in the Virgin Islands.

But is that the standard by which projects in our islands should be judged? A commercial water slide moored next to Two Brothers might also be “unique and exciting” and generate revenue, but would that make it a good idea?

I think the better question is whether The Bebop will enhance or diminish the natural beauty of Pillsbury Sound — a beauty that has pleased Virgin Islanders and attracted visitors for nearly a hundred years without man-made additions.

Ms. Beatty writes that she has approached the project with “the natural beauty of the Virgin Islands in mind.” I doubt it, because this barge will be 40 feet wide, 120 feet long, two stories high, and visible for miles. Is that “natural?”

In numerous ads and public statements, The Bebop has proclaimed that it wants to “maintain [the] pristine beauty” of our marine environment. According to the Random House Dictionary, pristine means “pertaining to the earliest period or state; primitive; having its original purity; uncorrupted or unsullied.”

It will be hard to honestly describe the seascape we now see at Grass Cay and Mingo Cay as pristine if this barge intrudes into the picture. Mother Nature gave us the beauty of our islands as a gift for all Virgin Islanders to enjoy and as a golden goose to generate tourist dollars; let’s not kill the goose with The Bebop.

— Mike Fitzsimmons,

St. Thomas