BVI News

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Sell out? Gov’t offering residency to rich investors

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

The National Democratic Party (NDP) government has said it is considering to offer residency or even citizenship to wealthy investors who dump money into the British Virgin Islands.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith made that announcement in the House Of Assembly on Thursday, June 28.

The Premier described the move as a ‘national trade policy’ to “create an attractive business environment for both domestic and foreign direct investors”.

Dr Smith said under the NDP-sanctioned policy, persons with a ‘substantial business presence’ in the territory, as well as ‘direct investors’ who have a net worth of $100 million, would qualify for immediate residency or, perhaps, citizenship.

He confirmed persons will also qualify for residency if they are employed in a senior management position in a company with a substantial business presence in the BVI, or if they have ‘independent means/wealth’.

While answering questions from Opposition member Julian Fraser, Dr Smith said persons with independent means would include retirees with a net worth of $25 million or more.

But, the NDP policy did not sit well with Fraser who said the Premier Smith administration was “selling citizenship”.

In response, Premier Smith chuckled and he denied the claim.

“We are not selling citizenship. This is not what it is all about. This is encouraging people to invest in the territory. And I would not like to believe that if someone invests $100 million in the territory, we would not want to allow them to come to the territory undisturbed, or give them some form of residency; whether it is for a certain number of years,” Premier Smith said.

However, Fraser fired back stating he was dissatisfied with the Premier’s rationale.

“I have a difficulty with that answer because this is not something that just happened,” Fraser said. “We have been around for years, we never thought about doing something like this.”

Other countries are doing it too 

He then questioned whether the policy was a means of diversifying the BVI’s financial services sector, which is said to be under threat from the United Kingdom’s controversial public registers mandate on the BVI.

Dr Smith answered stating the move is a ‘diversification of the British Virgin Islands’.

“Every other country in the world is doing it. And it is something that, if you want people to invest [and] put their hard earned money into your country’s development, they would expect to be able to reside where they are making this investment.”

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57 Comments

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  1. Oh My!! says:

    Next thing we will hear that we will have knights in shining armours like Sir A. S…ford who befriended our Caribbean neighbour with his fool’s gold and ended up as the emperor in his new (orange) clothes.
    Please…we are down but certainly not out, and by no means destitute. Where is the input from the populace? Not because everyone else is doing it we have to follow suit. Remember ‘Monkey see, monkey do?’

  2. Reality says:

    Well the thing just start.its a shame what the ndp has brought this country to.who are these would be investors going to develop this country for,would it be for bvi landers or the influx of the new wave of workers trying to earn a dollar.listen people it’s time to remove the Smith administration from office.with fahie and his new team except for the seventh district it’s the best I see in all my yrs .

    • Optimistic says:

      The BVI needs all the help it can get financially. I think people are forgetting that our main economic pillar is under severe threat and hundreds if not thousands of jobs could be lost and homes forclosed etc. Give the Government some credit. At least for trying to find other viable sources of revenue. It’s a suggestion and I am sure many more will be forthcoming.

      Furthermore, I think the critics are also forgetting that all of our major hotels on Virgin Garda are closed due to hurricane Irma and are likely to be for the next three years at least, which means our tourism sector is also under strain. Before offering up criticism, the naysayers should consider the current state of the Territory from an economic perspective and try coming up with some ideas rather than just criticizing what is now being considered.

  3. Reality says:

    Mr fahie please get someone in the seventh district that is people friendly and a local who is and was with the people. You would lose a lot of votes because of your choice.please rethink.

  4. mmario says:

    Money talk – Bring them all crooks…..

  5. Seriously? says:

    A move like this puts all BVI owned property and businesses at risk. Our small businesses cannot seriously compete against a serious citizenship for money program, this means that any lucrative investment opportunities that come up will likely go to our new very wealthy BVIlanders. I think this group needs to just go now before they further destroy this country.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      Nonesense. Trade licenses already protect local business. Investment is good for everyone. BVI would not have its high standard of living if it was not for foreign investment. And 90% of usiness was founded, is owned and is run by non belongers.

  6. ah sah says:

    The BVI gone to the dogs..No wonder so many island people running for public office

  7. Lu Kim Sung. says:

    Good move. Will be taken up this offer as soon as this becomes available. Taking my extended family of 38 in total along too. See you soon BVI.

  8. wow says:

    NDP SELL OUT ME BLACK BIRTH RIGHTS…

  9. Enough says:

    Residency means you can live and go in and out, it doesn’t give you the right to vote, own land or work in the BVI. WTF is the problem? Keep it up, if you think Irma was bad, try imagining a BVI 10 years down the road when all other Caribbean Islands upgrade their tourism offering and we are left holding the bag. Keep it up!

    • Comment says:

      With residency you cannot vote, but every other right as a local is granted to you…
      So, this is a very dangerous move from this greedy, power driven, idiotic government…
      Look at other places, and see what has happened to the development of those countries and its people… the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.. it will become worse.

      • @Comment says:

        Stop talking nonsense! Residence status only gives you the right to come and go as you please, NOTHING ELSE! This whole fear of people buying out the Territory, how can anyone buy what’s not for sale? Most of the prime land here is owned by local families so what’s the fear? If they want to sell they will sell whether the person(s) have residency or not. We sound so stupid with this argument at a time when the place needs to be rebuilt. Too late shall be our cry.

    • Brad Boynes says:

      You can own land and not have a certificate of residence. Keep that in mind.

    • Optimistic says:

      @Enough: You are absolutely correct. Our tourism product is no where near what it should be which is largely due to the difficultly getting to the BVI. We are years behind Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Irma set us back even further. We are focused so much on party politics that we are overlooking what’s best for the VI.

  10. Hmmmm says:

    Why are we letting people get away with this blatant ignorance and fear mongering. Giving residency is not the same as citizenship and the BVI Government CANNOT grant citizenship to anyone, this is done through the Governors Office! St Kitts, Antigua and others offer citizenship and Passports to investors. We are offering RESIDENCY, meaning the investors that meet the requirement can live in the BVI but they CANNOT work (without a work permit), CANNOT buy land (without an alien land-holders license), CANNOT VOTE! What is the problem?

    • Carib Mann says:

      Just for information please note that even the USA and the UK offer residency to foreign investors investors also.

    • The Most Honorable says:

      Be corrected, Residency and Belonger status can be given by the BVI government, but not British Citizenship. However, anyone who is granted Residency or Belongers status can apply to become a BOTC or British citizen if they chose to live here for no less than 5 years (unmarried to British Citizen attached to this territory), 3 years if married to one. This surely beats the 20+ years for the average expat person.

      Be Corrected, people who are granted Residency status can in fact work in the Virgin Islands with out the need for a work permit. They can buy land with or without the Residency Status.

      After one year of gaining the Residency Status, a person can apply to become a Belonger and henceforth, would be able to vote by around a year’s time.

      • Concerned says:

        Within one year the person can apply for Citizenship which again is not Belonger, so still cannot buy land without a license and cannot vote. APPLY – Not automatically get it.

    • In aTrance says:

      Dr. Smith didn’t rule out Citizenship.
      St. Kits/Nevis is having difficulty with their CBI Program and are having thoughts about discontinuing it.
      Mark Brantly, Prime Minister and minister of Foreign Affairs was on Von Radio with his “On the Mark Program” just this past Wednesday night, taking a lot of heat from callers over their lost of Visa-Free travel to Canada because of a CBI holder.
      Our BVIs with our tiny population have come to far for us to be Prostituting ourselves by these Shiny Objects.
      We have already paid a heavy price sacrificing our dignity going to St. Thomas working for 29 days to feed our families; sometimes not being able to land because the sloop got into port to late and had to spend the night anchored in the harbour or bay somewhere. Our lands have been sold for meager bucks with sellers still broke and landless, while the so-call investors are buying up or islands while benefiting from Tax-Exemption, while our taxes are on the up and up. Imagine that.
      It is said that “God takes care of Infants and fools”. Perhaps that’s where we are, (and don’t know it lol)
      How low should we go, and for who?

      • Fact check says:

        Hon. Brantley is not the Prime Minster, He is the Premier of Nevis.

        The BVI have prostituting along time ago, pride is what going to kill us in these Virgin Islands. There is a saying only when wind blow you see fowl backside… the hen come home to roost.. chaa

        You guys is so much like Trump its not funny.

  11. Wake up says:

    Willy T

  12. T.V says:

    An open door for money laundering and criminals to set up house…only look at the other nameless countries PM did not mentioned, and see how organized crime and money laundering has over taken the nameless countries

    Does anyone in this administration ever do research before they follow other countries, and become a less than favorable country to live.

    • Lb says:

      Bvi has been a center for money laundering and dope running for decades. Nothing new. Residency for investors with over $25 million sounds good to me. Ain’t much persons with that type of wealth. No vote and no work with out permit and no land without a license? What is the problem? Financial services on the brink of collapse. Tourism took a big hit. But we want to be petty and political about residency rights that could bring in much needed investment? Fraser didn’t even have a reason for his argument! Just that it “didn’t sit well” wth him. If you invested $10 million of your hard earned money in a business in a foreign country, wouldn’t you expect some concessions? Come on my people…stop making noise for making noise sake and get real. Pride Goeth before a fall!

    • CW says:

      Hence the transparency initiative. But you knew that. You just want to complain. Like all the BVI.

  13. Wendy says:

    Because of the VI’s selfless genorisity it is a population now dominated by newcomers that are poor or borderline and as such,is facing a future with heavy clouds of human liability.
    The Premier has little choice and taking this step frankly,is better late than never.

  14. Political Observer (PO) says:

    No doubt the BVI needs external investment/foreign direct investment for economic growth, development and sustainability. But selling out to deca millionaires through economic citzenship/ economic residency is another tory. sale of economic citizenship/economic residency is not sustainable.True, other regional countries, ie, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis……etc do but they do so at a high cost.

    Selling out the country through this means is making deca millionaires the de facto leaders/government of the country. A regional sister country depended heavily on a deca millionaire, making him the de facto leader, and paid a heavy price. it is still reeling from its myopic action. He/she who has the gold makes the golden rules.

    The BVI has fallen far, sliding from having one of the highest per capita income, quality of life and standard of living in the region. Its finance and budget is a royal mess. It averaged $1B GDP per year but there is not much to show for it. With a $1B GDP, the territory should not be still in 3rd World status. It squandered the opportunity to be farther down the growth path. It is currently running a 2018 $54M budget deficit; it should have proposed a balanced budget. Furthermore, the territory is dangling precariously off the economic cliff and cannot continue to do business as usual. change is needed urgently; major structural adjustments are needed. it needs to cut expenses and increase revenues.

    Moreover, government is indicating that economic residency is way to diversify the economy. Really!!! The territory needs true economic diversification.

  15. I from here says:

    I think Dr. Smith, Dr.Pickering has officially lost their —- 🤔

  16. Por favor says:

    Hide yuh husband, wife, concubine, kids, goats, Cruzan rum, mangoes and plantains. Them selling everything.

  17. Reality says:

    This is for comment and Enough. Didn’t you guys read that citizenship may be considered? Please read carefully and not just the headlines. Who really is the ndp government developing this country for?there is enough jobs in the bvi for the present population. How much more expatriate can this tiny island holds?Which other Caribbean island as small as the bvi trying to increase there population so fast.slow down and invest and use the tax payers money wisely. Even the ndp supporters in the east end district is saying that we need a the prime minister of st vincent to come her for six months to show them how to extend the airport for half the estimated cost. Lol watch what the Smith administration is doing to this small island.

  18. Brad Boynes says:

    This clown at it again.

  19. Wes says:

    Who was the joker in Antigua who is now rotting in prison? Stanford? How many Caribbean Islands have gone down this route and made a mess of it?

  20. Ned says:

    Greed. That is why we are in the state we are in. We look at what places are doing and we want the same. This premier and his government have brought us to the lowest level. We are ready to sell out just looking at money. What about character. Do we know the criminal backgrounds? What about the safety of our children? Time to stop the nonsense. The people of these islands have been hardworking. That is why our territory was known to be different. Now greed has brought us to nothing. Even the youth are loosing pride in working hard for an honest living.

  21. NPolitico says:

    Undoubtedly, Dr. the Hon Premier, AtL, Daniel Orlando Smith, MoF, has dedicated his life to serving the community as a physician and a politician. He was a more effective physician than politician. Nonetheless, at this juncture, he is a lame duck, having decided to step down as Premier.

    Consequently, in his remaining days or months, he needs to deliver routine services and keep the country safe. Major decisions such as providing economic residency should fall to the incoming Premier and government. In fact a law should be implemented that a certain time, ie, 120 days…….etc before a general election major financial decisions must be approved by at least 66% of HOA members.

    Moreover, successive governments have squandered opportuinity(s) and wasted national resources. Now the territory is in a financial straight jacket, experiencing significant financial challenges. The BVI was having financial challenges before the historic flood and the two monster Cat 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria; these events exacerbated the challenges. It (BVI) needs a formal strategic financial plan to escape out of the financial mess.

    It needs to leverage strengths and fix weaknesses while capitalizing opportunities and avoiding threats. It needs strong, focused and effective leadership and management to navigate through the shoals and ground sea.

    Economic citizenship or economic residency is a sell out and desperate act to make up for past failed action/policies.

  22. Hmmmm says:

    I honestly don’t have any objection to the BVI offering incentives for potential investors. Did you know that you can get a green card from the Great United States by investing and starting a business that employs a certain amount of people? My problem with this is the screening of these potential investors….

  23. CW says:

    But you are ok with being poor and not having basic services. I will always shake my head at the backwards thinking of the BVI. You b*tch when it’s bad. You b*tch when it’s good. You just can’t help yourselves, and it’s embarrassing. Once again this attitude is directly responsible for the lackluster storm recovery ALL other Caribbean islands are already showing vast improvement. THATS what you should b*tch about.

  24. RealPol says:

    Lets see. Who is the more likely supposed investor with at least a $100M in assets? Does the term oligarch comes to mind? Drug king pins trying to wash some money? Black goal investors from the Mid East? So what will these filthy rich guys invest in or it does not matter? Tourism, fishing…….etc. Just check and the BVI has no oil, minerals, strategic metals, forestry…..etc to mine or manufacture consumer goods……etc.

    The BVI better be very circumspect about whom they SELL residency to. They don’t want to slaughter priviledges granted by others, ie, US, Canada……etc on the altar of a few green backs. Does one of our sister regional countries need a visa to Canada? Ah ha! Hmmm!

    • Ok says:

      Well lets start an initiative to welcome poor people to the BVI which will help us greatly! I swear to God I can’t believe some of the sh-t I read on here. We want jobs but don’t want people who can create them. Good luck!

  25. CW says:

    Hence the transparency initiative. But you knew that. You just want to complain. Like all the BVI.

  26. Really says:

    The BVI has enough on its plate right now….will we be able to handle any more negative publicity should issues arise…
    Especially as we try to recover? https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/iran-passports-comoros

  27. Put BVI First says:

    What about all of us who have lived here for 20 years and supported the country with our hard earned income, dedication to the tourism market and conservation of the country. What about those of us who have stayed and endured the last year and helped our community and neighbors to rise up.
    Who bring friends and family. Who rent places, boats and use flights. Who shop and dine daily so more people have jobs. Who buy are gas, electric, water, fuel and everything else to survive. After 20+ years we are told they are not accepting any applications for residency.
    We don’t have $100,000 million, but we have the heart of the BVI. What about us?

  28. Cw says:

    Dr please give them kids that born here passport they are the ones to lead the bvi on why you all so hard and back wards where they born is where they from do something good before you left give them kids passport……and thanks for your services over the years go and enjoy the rest of your life you a great fighter

  29. Rubber Duck says:

    $25 million? In St Kitts and most of the others it’s $400,000. And you get a passport. It’s much less to be given residence in Cayman. You can be resident in the USA for an investment of $500,000. You can be resident in Monaco for a bank deposit of €500,000.

    There are only about 150,000 in the world with net assets of $25 million or more.

    Don’t worry. There will be no queue of people for this “offer.”

  30. Easy says:

    What do people really want Government to do as it relates to getting the economy back on track? That’s what I would like to know! It seems nothing the Government does is good enough, so what are the solutions?

  31. OH MY!!!! says:

    This is a residency offer NOT A PASSPORT OR BELONGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why is this being compared to other countries giving Citizenship and Passports? IT IS NOT THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Laughable says:

    What is being offered is the same as a work permit exemption which so many people already have. LOL! Wow, I really have to laugh at the level of ignorance that has permeated our beautiful islands. I’m hopeful that the blogs are not a true reflection of what we are as a Territory.

  33. Hotelier says:

    More important than the $25 million Aires are people who invest and come and work here often employing many local people. Currently they must buy a work permit to invest in a business and work for themselves. That is non sense and is off putting to many who want to start businesses here.

    Residence with the right to work is what such people should have.

  34. Interested says:

    This morning as I thought about this,I asked my husband given our history of not doing due diligence,who is going to vet these so called investors with millions of dollars? Are we inviting the Russian mafia for instance to set up shop in our territory.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      Even to live here for 6 months you must present police reports, bank accounts, references etc etc. You do not just walk in , money or not.

  35. CW says:

    It is clear from the ignorance, RACISM, and fear-mongerong in these comments that the number one priority in the BVI should be EDUCATION. but you’re all crying about a proposed medical school so good luck with that. YOU ARE DESTROYING YOUR FUTURE WITH IGNORANCE.

  36. Times says:

    Citizenship is different from Residency. The real issue is the consideration of citizenship. In times of desperation it is easy to panic and fall prey to situations that are destructive in the long term. In these times we need leaders who are discerning. The previous Leader had his faults but one thing about him he was tha Stanford was a major example.

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