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Continue to spend money, Christopher urges residents

Head of the Trade Department Karia Christopher. File photo

Director of Trade Karia Christopher has appealed for persons to continue spending money, adding that spending is important to stimulate businesses and ensure there is a sense of normality in the local economy, which has been hit severely by a tropical wave on August 7 and Hurricane Irma on September 6.

The trade director said Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith shares her view that steps should be taken to ensure the British Virgin Islands (BVI) economy is stimulated as soon as possible.

“Based on the instructions from the premier, we are trying to stimulate the businesses economy back as well. And so, for us, stimulation of the businesses in the Virgin Islands includes spending money. We need to make sure that the BVI continues to be self-sufficient, and so we want persons that are here [and] visitors that are coming to continue to spend and to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

“Our job for the interim right now is to try to create a sense of normalcy in the business community, and bringing those businesses that are ready to work back on stream,” added Christopher.

She recently was widely criticized for announcing that beauty salons are among priority businesses being targeted for her department’s assistance, adding that persons should not have to travel overseas to spend money on hairstyles.

But, in a subsequent interview with the Government Information Service, Christopher emphasized that the ‘priority list’ that was announced is not exhaustive.

“We understand the anxiety for persons post [hurricanes] Irma and Maria, especially in the business community. While we know that we will not get everything right in the first instance, we endeavour to try and listen to what the community says and revamp as often as possible – as much as needed to get the business sector in the British Virgin Islands back on track.”

“We want to make sure that we first say that the list of priorities is not exhaustive. These lists will be revamped ever so often… We want to stress again that we are here to support the business community whether you are on the priority list or not. And most of all, we are here to listen to your concerns and comments,”  Christopher further said.

The types of businesses that appeared on her department’s priority list were: grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries, construction Companies including maintenance companies, furniture stores, hardware stores, cleaning companies including laundromats, auto repair businesses, beauty salons and barber shops, daycare and pre-schools, as well as the fishing industry.

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