For more than a quarter century, Patrick Joseph has been feeding St. John residents and off-island commuters from St. Thomas and Tortola traditional West Indian food from his vivid yellow and green eatery located across from the U.S. Post Office in Cruz Bay.
Patricks West Indian Delight has been serving food for 29 years, and until recently, the owner had no problems, according to Joseph.
For 29 years, Ive been serving my people, I never had problems with anybody, said Joseph. This is just a little place every one can come to relax.
However, in June the V.I. Port Authority wrote and hand delivered a letter to Joseph requesting that he remove his business from the authoritys property, according to the business owner.
The VIPA told me I had to leave I dont like the way they are treating me, said Joseph, adding that he cleans the three VIPA-owned and -operated docks in Cruz Bay daily.
Joseph said he always pays rent for the property on time, but since June, the authority is refusing to take his money for rent.
I dont know what to say; I dont know what to do, said Joseph. This is the only little place for West Indian food, especially for people coming over from Tortola, St. Thomas and the people of St. John.
Its an eyesore in my estimation, said Darlan Brin, VIPAs executive director. Patricks has been there too long, and he pays for one spot when he is using two.
VIPAs Brin Sees Eyesore
Patricks West Indian Delight does not have a lease or a usage permit with the VIPA, according to Brin. The business remains on a month-to-month rental basis with the authority, the VIPA official added.
He does not have a lease, hes on a month-to-month basis, said Brin. The rent paid is approximately $100 per month, he added.
The VIPA has been advising the business owner for a long time that he must remove his business from the VIPA-owned parking lot, according to Brin.
The Port Authority advised him (Joseph) long before he got the letter that he would have to move, but he verbally asked to stay until the Fourth of July and I consented, said Brin. Since then, we have sent a letter asking him to vacate.
The business owner was given a certain period of time to vacate the premises but he since hired an attorney, placing the dispute into the legal process, Brin said.
The matter is in legal hands now, said Brin.