While he underscored the need for young people of the British Virgin Islands to invest in the boating business, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie has called for an end to the stereotyping of young boat operators as drug dealers.
He said most boat operators are not involved in drug running, and the stereotyping merely discourages youngsters from tapping into what could be a very lucrative industry.
“If you listen to everybody, all of them [young people] that run any boat, they feel they just running drugs.”
“Then we discourage them, ‘I don’t want you with any boat because you gwine run drugs’. That is not so for the majority of our young people… Tell them ‘let me help you to get to the college so you could become trained so that you could get your certificate so that you could be a captain certified…” Fahie told the House of Assembly yesterday during a debate on the Cruise Permit (Amendment) Act.
He added that, if Government rakes in enough revenue from the fee increases now being imposed in the marine industry, it should do the ‘right thing’ and invest in the youngsters who are interested in the marine industry.
“This cruising permit, if we get the right amount of money from it, do the right thing. It will open the door for these things to happen for these youngsters; we can do more with training with money from the cruising permit; we can do more with helping them to invest in the industry. All of this is important… Right now, our youngsters could go in that industry and make some real money.”
Fahie noted the need for the young boaters to be assisted, considering the difficulty he said they face in securing loans from banks.
“If a youngster right now goes to the bank for any kind of loan dealing with the marine industry, it is a very difficult loan to get nowadays. Some of the banks ain’t even accepting land. And the land, most of them (young people), they don’t have,” said the Opposition leader.
He added that the marine industry remains promising, but must be protected for the territory’s young people.
“We have to protect it so they can get into it and stay into it. That’s why I encourage things like the captains’ association, and those in the marine industry to have these associations right here because somebody have to listen,” Fahie further told the House.
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