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COMMENTARY: BVI’s Labour and Immigration injust

Alred Frett

By Alred Frett, Contributor

These rough times are getting rougher and more rather than less we find ourselves complaining about the problems we experience and the pains we face.

We allow ourselves no time for concern about others as we totally reject the idea that our own actions or inactions may be the root cause of our problems. Instead, we have become consumed by our own perceived social status and self-importance.

At a glance, our forefathers may think we have come a long way over the two centuries until noticing that our children, their descendants, still face the same problems they fought to overcome.

Our progress report has remained chronologically stagnant.

Universal disrespect

We still have no faith in ourselves and still accept universal disrespect as second-class citizens whose haven of rest is only promised after death.

No wonder we reject the realities of life but embrace our pains and hardships as badges of honour in preparation for our big journey home.

In our zeal and misfocus, we say one thing but do the other. We sing about gathering stars for our crowns through acts of kindness even as we totally ignore the golden rule and take pleasure in doing unto others what we would not like done to ourselves.

Indeed, if we followed this rule, there would be no need for hunger, wars, murder and slavery but instead of caring and sharing, we place greed over need and measure ourselves by possession and suppression.

We have shackled ourselves to the same earthly we decry and all that matters is how much we can we possess beyond our needs and how many we suppress in order to achieve this.

Materialistic

We have become materialistic with greater interest in roads and walls, steel and concrete than in the health, education and welfare of our People.

So, we generate and enforce laws and policies designed to oppress and suppress without reasoning that ‘to every action, there is a reaction’ and what goes around comes around so the grief we spread is practically guaranteed to boomerangs right back to us.

None of this matters when greed replaces need.

Instead, we disconnect from reality; waste time, substance and opportunity while developing a zeal for complicating simple things.

Our comfort zones are where too much is not enough and bigger is always better so our bank accounts must bulge, our jewelry and cars must be oversized and our 20-room home only occupied by two persons.

Aren’t we all descendants of immigrants?

Meanwhile, we care nothing about others and we see this behaviour exhibited from top to bottom and a classic case of this is the work permit and Immigration processes that have become both cash cows and whipping boys for governments.

Somehow those involve managing to convince themselves and others that the harm they do is excusable if perceived as being done to expatriates and not locals.

Of course, they are wrong and although I shouldn’t have to explain this I will try.

Let us begin by putting ourselves in the shoes of such a worker – a single parent mother – who may be highly educated but has stooped and applied for a job to clean the mess made by others in order to support her child or children.

From the get-go government has skyrocketed the cost of this process; not based on quantity or quality of service but simply as a means of providing extra funds or government revenues.

By the way, this was all instituted before the hurricanes the promise to have this whole process shortened has never materialized.

Instead, the new non-refundable application fee encourages room for abuse.

More injustice

The injustice worsens with her permit renewal because, although she does everything as directed, Labour habitually fails to complete their part of process and have her back and forth day after day losing time and money.

After many delays and postponements, she is them directed to pay additional monies to Immigration simply because Labour failed to perform.

Even the ministers should know this is wrong.

However, more unfairness is encountered when the lady is not allowed to bring her children with her, (which may be understandable) but she is next ridiculed for sending out the wages she earned to these children and that interference is unreasonable.

When we order pencils from Amazon, their money goes out even before pencils come in so if we import her services her money belongs to her.

Following the steps and shadows of their masters

Instead of victimizing others and fracturing the golden rule, we BVIslanders should develop our people so they may provide the brawn and rain we now import to build and maintain our country.

In addition, it is wrong for government to further exploit the situation by exempting itself from the Work Permit process while continuing to take workers from the private sector after what they put them through.

Not only is it unfair and unjust for leaders to act in this manner but it should concern us all because such behaviour is the root cause of slavery, a crutch for colonialism.

This excuse allowed racism to continue for far too long. Furthermore, we are seeing this in America and other nations where the social abuse and police shootings of unarmed black men are treated with little or no accountability.

Just recently we learn of the arrest or two black men just for being at Starbucks – a place that sells coffee – and many BIIslanders may think of this as having nothing to do with us but they are wrong.

Racism is universal

Racism is universal and while there is no place for it in the BVI that does not mean there is none and play blind and fail to recognize this the less able we would be to prevent and ostracize it.

Our ideal approach must be to treat everyone with dignity and only judge persons based on their merit rather than our personal biases.

Moreover, it is hard to deny existence and practice of racism by Labour and Immigration when we see Afro-Caribbean applicants treated differently to Anglo-continental applicants with those of African descent are mostly treated harsher and with less respect.

We may hate to hear this but this is not the only evidence that a racial, colonial mentality is very much alive in the BVI.

This may be a closely guarded secret but from time to time even whites who have lived with us all their lives still feel that urge or right to exhibit the tendency to exploit black locals and impede their progress.

They are your friends for as long as they can use and abuse you.

Denying racism

Besides, it does not matter if everyone knows their actions are wrong because they feel in control of a system where their colour-coded right is to suppress us and our afro obligation is to be silent.

If we dare resist, they feel confident that our preachers, politicians and lawyers can be used to do their dirty work and it is simply a matter of compensation and whether we call it a bribe, donation or ‘blood money’.

We have seen this happen time after time where lawyers and courts are used to frighten us ordinary BVIslanders into submission.

It is not uncommon for innocent persons to be scared out of their rights just the threat of lawyers.

This is the same tactic used by Trump until persons said ‘enough’ and stood up to him. He started losing and even his personal lawyer may now face a long jail time.

Our wars for fairness and justice are finally showing rays of hope but not all battles have been won.

We may be labelled as ‘laundromat’ and ‘tax haven’ but our Immigration and Labour departments should not subscribe to racism, unfairness and injustice.

Remember, oppressors relish the wrong they do so we must stay focused and continue the struggle for we lose it all by accepting what is wrong as right.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

14 Comments

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  1. Sam the man says:

    A thoughtful and honest post thank you Mr Frett, your insights and comments I believe are well observed and we would do well to heed your wise council

    • Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! says:

      No mention of slavery until paragraph eight and No RanDOM uSe oF CAPItalS – is Alred losing His ToUcH?

  2. NB says:

    Well said Mr. Frett.

  3. Nope says:

    Such a great article. Right up until you started talking about white people under the heading “Racism is Universal”. Your comments appear to be quite racist, which really detracts from the point of this article.

  4. huh says:

    Too many outsiders getting trade-licenses

  5. ReX FeRaL says:

    White people are the human virus that attack all other ethnic groups outside of them. Their own white Supremacy ideology will consume them in the long run for that meager horse.

    • Jane says:

      As a white person your comment is unpleasant and hurtful but I’ll have to accept it, just as I accept my white privilege. Have you considered though, that if your comment is right (and let me say I do not think it is) then ipso facto, you must equally accept that other ethnic groups are weaker, otherwise white people would not have been able to prevail over them? You see I don’t adhere to what you say, but you need to consider that you cannot make that statement, without accepting the corresponding position: if one person is strong then the other must be weak. Much of history, as with the present day, is driven by wealth and power, those without either are doomed to do the bidding of those that do. Historically, at least in terms of the Caribbean that has been white Europeans controlling Afro-Caribbean people and first nations peoples. Interesting to see how the World will shift as the Chinese and Indians become the World’s superpowers. Perhaps white people’s dominance will subside? Personally, I hope that over time we are all mixed-heritage ethnically so that we no longer see these skin-deep divisions and that we can move on through love and understanding. Anyhow, making racist comments about any race or ethnicity is not acceptable and holds all of us back. Together, with love, we are all stronger.

  6. mellon says:

    Well said Mr. Frett

  7. Diplomat says:

    Undoubtedly, the level and quality of customer service at both Labour and Immigration are not a model worthy of emulation. Some where along way these departments fail to realize that one of their roles and responsibilities is to delivery quality customer service; it is not a one way street. The BVI is a service-based economy. And the poor level of customer service is surprising.

    On another note, there is an old saying or may be it is still applicable: If you White, you right; if you Brown, stick around; if you Black get back. Warning, the next statement may make many uncomfortable: In the VI, persons of African descent are more closely scrutinized than others. Are there lingering self hatred?

    Moreover, the cost of delivering public services is increasing. To meet the increasing cost of services, government must either 1) cut services ( horizontal/vertical) or 2) increase fees and taxes. Furthermore, government must strive to enhance productivity, attain value for money, exercise fiduciary oversight of resources, cut the fat, eliminate duplication…………etc.

  8. What? says:

    whites who have lived with us all their lives still feel that urge or right to exhibit the tendency to exploit black locals and impede their progress.

    You were muddled but on point sort of until then. There are no whites in power here you crazy fool.

    As for those running businesses, they just want the best employees they can get to do the job. They are biased but to do with education, experience and contacts, then costs. Professionals are employed from many nations and backgrounds. Enough high calibre people are needed here to compete and keep BVI going and it is not an easy task and not one that people are thanked for enough. Nothing else matters. If they had a problem with black people, they would not be in BVI as second class citizens, enduring the awful processes you mentioned beforehand, the difficulties with the infrastructure and the underperforming schools and services. They would not be out there in the community trying to make these things better, paying their taxes and fees and getting clients into BVI to pay for all of this, cleaning up the place in their spare time, returning when the place is in decline and destroyed after hurricanes. They would be off somewhere far easier to live, to make money etc. Don’t be fooled by paranoia and the same lines trump uses to arouse hatred.

  9. Query says:

    Why can one work after they got a job and waiting on work permit after you are here in the country so long ?a person being laid off due to the hurricanes and they have to sit and wait until two and half months to get work permit after being submitted ,your time expired keep expiring,can someone please look into this

  10. Query says:

    What are the options?

  11. Jane says:

    As a white person your comment is unpleasant and hurtful but I’ll have to accept it, just as I accept my white privilege. Have you considered though, that if your comment is right (and let me say I do not think it is) then ipso facto, you must equally accept that other ethnic groups are weaker, otherwise white people would not have been able to prevail over them? You see I don’t adhere to what you say, but you need to consider that you cannot make that statement, without accepting the corresponding position: if one person is strong then the other must be weak. Much of history, as with the present day, is driven by wealth and power, those without either are doomed to do the bidding of those that do. Historically, at least in terms of the Caribbean that has been white Europeans controlling Afro-Caribbean people and first nations peoples. Interesting to see how the World will shift as the Chinese and Indians become the World’s superpowers. Perhaps white people’s dominance will subside? Personally, I hope that over time we are all mixed-heritage ethnically so that we no longer see these skin-deep divisions and that we can move on through love and understanding. Anyhow, making racist comments about any race or ethnicity is not acceptable and holds all of us back. Together, with love, we are all stronger.

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