BVI News

Barely surviving! Resident gets runaround waiting for new permit

Josiah’s Bay resident, Geoffrey Day.

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

After making several failed attempts to have his new work permit processed, British national Geoffrey Day, who has been a resident of the British Virgin Islands for the past 12 years, remains stuck in St Maarten for nine months now.

Day initially left the territory for St Maarten on February 26 while he awaits a new work permit after switching jobs. A week later, the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to territory; resulting in the BVI closing its borders and government departments closing due to the imposed curfew lockdown.

Speaking to BVI News nearly four months following a previous interview, Day who is a carpenter by profession explained that he has been taking the recommended measures to have his new work permit processed, but was constantly getting the runaround.

These efforts according to Day included contacting the Minister for Labour & Immigration Vincent Wheatley and the Chief Immigration Officer Ian Penn.

He said: “My employer is contacting Mr Wheatley shortly. He has to get permission from him first before I can put any paperwork in for my work permit. It will be the third time I have done this, the last time I was told to contact Immigration and Mr Penn. They then sent me to Labour, who then again sent me back to Immigration and so forth. It’s getting tiring.”

Wrote Minister for Overseas Territories

With no other avenue available, Day said he wrote to the then Minister for Overseas Territories Elizabeth Sugg as his last hope of desperation to see what could be done in his case.

“The basis of the email to the minister was just to explain my situation and the fact that I was getting no constructive response from the BVI government, rather being that I felt I was being ignored,” he said.

“I want to find out from them whether or not this was legal and based on humanitarian grounds, whether I was being victimized. I don’t know, I’ve got to try all avenues,” he explained.

Barely surviving

The Josiah’s Bay resident who said he continues to pay rent for his apartment to date, explained that he has now nearly depleted all of his resources and is barely surviving while on St Maarten.

“I’ve managed to survive here in St Maarten because friends have helped me out — a food parcel here and there and a place to stay. But with no regular job, I have no money to care for myself. Literally zero dollars.”

“Last week I also ran out of food and had five days living off tea and sugar. Fortunately, a BVI friend is here who has helped me out this week,” he added.

Nowhere to go

Despite being a national of the United Kingdom, Day said he has not lived in the UK since 1997. After making the BVI his home for more than a decade, he said that all of his belongings are still in the territory. He has nowhere else to go.

“Worst case scenario is that if my work permit is denied, I will return in December sometime to organise my affairs and make arrangements to ship out all my belongings. To where? I haven’t yet worked out,” he dejectedly expressed.

Day is hoping that he receives some good news soon, as he continues to await a response from the relevant authorities.

Efforts to reach Labour & Immigration Minister, Vincent Wheatley has been unsuccessful.


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  1. Expats says:

    The are trying to tell you not to come back to there island
    The are trying to get raid of all the expats
    That’s how the vip government is the are using this virus to do their dirty job
    And still some of the tolans not seeing what fahie trying to do, even though the will suffer too
    The only want expats tax, social security and other revenue money the don’t want you
    The are very selfish

    Like 47
    Dislike 14
  2. hmmm says:

    Interesting case and do sympathise with you. However, the BVI government is under no obligation to approve a work permit.

    I would strongly advise you to end your relationship with the BVI and move back to the UK. Life is too short for all this stress and added uncertainty.

    Like 33
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    • @ hmm says:

      How inconsiderate of you! Ofcourse the BVI have every right to renew his work permit. He give 12 years of his life working , living and contributing to the BVI economy. I think the gov should be a bit more sensitive to situations like this. These people have noting after being basically shut out out of somewhere they have contributed a large amount of their living. This is the part I hate about the current administration. No heart. No consideration for others. Just those at the top. Look at how desperate the man is. Look at how far he went to get their attention? Now it’s public knowledge. Something that could have been avoided. What a shame.

      Like 13
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      • @hmm says:

        Your contribute is pointless. Please point me to the relevant legislation that stipulates that a work permit must be approved on any of the basis you have put forward.

        Please also point me to any legislation that states government must be sensitive to personal situation?

        Now let’s look at the flip side of the coin. Do you think the government in this current environment has the right to ensure that its citizens are gainfully employed in their own country? Do you think the government has a duty to ensure that its citizens are able to pay their rent, put food on their tables? Give me a break….

        Like 9
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    • Facts says:

      Who the f*** are you to make that suggestion…..I’m tired of you small minded ppl……the bvi is one of the most anti expat places ever…….and yet still they leave and go to other countries to live…..

      Like 3
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  3. Hmm says:

    I living in BVI before 1997 and i am getting a royal push around just to return i do have a permit but immigration is taking their own turtle pace time to give approval even though they say the process takes approximately two weeks..well its over two weeks and i’m still to hear whether my application to return is approved or not.

    Like 11
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  4. 1997 says:

    So this guy haven’t live in his country of birth since 1997 that’s 23 yrs ago. He lived in the bvi for almost 12 yrs and this is his home according to him. So mr day where were you living for almost 12 yrs before you come to the bvi?? I didn’t know it’s a right to be issued a work permit?? I thought that it is a privilege for a work permit to be granted to anyone. You lived in England for most of your life only living in the bvi for almost 12 yrs and now claiming that this is your only home. Well Lord give me faith. The people who lived here for 40 and 50 yrs should own half of tortola by now . I hope that you are given what you deserve.

    Like 17
    Dislike 43
    • Dont be silly. says:

      There are processes and regulations. The government should adhere to those.

      That you agree with the random treatment the government gives people clearly means you are happy to be living in a banana republic.

      Like 19
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    • Wake up says:

      Non of your business where the man lived. People can live in different countries once they remained within the law. I have lived in 5 different countries all lawfully over the past 35years.

      Like 34
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    • Mr Day says:

      Did I ever say in the article that it is my right to no permit?
      No. I mearly started that I have been trying my best to get answers from the government for 10 months and have had very little response. What response I have had has sent me round from dept. to dept. with everyone passing the buck.
      I just want answers so I can plan ahead and get on with my life.
      I have an apartment there which I still pay for, I have ALL my possessions there. I have my pets there.
      I cannot just walk away with literally the suitcase of shirts and shorts that I have and leave my belongings behind.
      ALL my carpentry tools for my work are in the BVI. 1,000’s of dollars worth.
      As for the other 12 or so years I was away from the UK before I came to France, what difference does that make? What does that matter? I’ve lived and worked in a few countries. So what.
      I came to the BVI 12 years ago and decided I would like to stay and settle. But hey, I understand it’s not my right. I would just like your government to understand the situation I am in and let me know what I can or cannot do.
      Thankyou for your consideration.

  5. Forward ever Backward never says:

    Did Mr. Day commit a crime? Is there a law that you can’t change employers? Why is the relevant department treating Mr. Day with silence? Being professional is being transparent. Give the gentleman an answer so he can make alternate plans. There is absolutely no reason for treating any one with grave indifference. What is being done here in my opinion is inhumane, disrespectful and plain wrong. I have no axe to grind here as I don’t have a clue who Mr. Day is. I just respond to the narrative of this story, which if it’s true is doing a disservice to Mr. Day.

    Like 62
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  6. Reality says:

    That’s the reality folks, you are dealing with the most r****t government on this planet

    Like 26
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  7. Sturpss says:

    That nowhere to go story is nonsense. Go Home… Home is clearly not the BVI else you couldn’t be locked out of it or need no permit. A work permit is no OWED to you it is not your right to demand that it be approved. UK looking to box our food out our mouth with this public register nonsense they cutting aid to overseas territories till the same Elizabeth Sugg you complaining to resign. They looking out for themselves and we got to do the same either wait or go back to YOUR home.

    Like 18
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    • Mr Day says:

      BVI has been my home for 12 years, and all my possessions including the tools I have that I need for work are there.
      I don’t say it is my right to have a permit, I mearly just want answers. So I can make plans and collect my belongings if need be.
      Put the shoe on the other foot before making stupid comments.

      • Theo says:

        The BVI always maintains a position they owe nothing but are owed everything.

        Cut your losses.

        • Mr day says:

          I’d love to just walk away, but some of my possessions are very dear and personal to me and worth a fair amount of money, plus there are my tools, which I have gathered over years and years and which are essential to my work.
          And then there are my pets, which are like family to me. The thought of them being put in cages at the humane society, even though what they do is amazing, breaks my heart.
          It’s hard to walk away from all that. I don’t want to be left with nothing, penniless, and no means to start up work again without spends more 1000’s of dollars on tools again.

  8. facts says:

    The guy left his employer of 12 years to basically start a competing business with a freind . The job was made specifically for him and no one else, this is why the permit is not being processed.

    These are the facts and he has no rights in the BVI unless given to him by Labour & Immigration department.

    Harsh but true.

    Like 23
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    • Wrong says:

      That is not the facts of the matter at all so dont spread lies.

      Like 8
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      • @wrong says:

        so a job just appeared after 12 years, he has no rights unless granted them, he chose to leave and try again, this try didn’t happen yet and probably won’t with his arrogance

    • Mr Day says:

      Scotty, but you are wrong.
      I have worked for various employers lawfully over the past 12 years and I was in the process of changing empire to another business, not mine, when I had to leave whilst the permit was being processed.
      Don’t make up stuff.

  9. boom says:

    This is nonsense, why the h**l would a British national need a work permit to work here in the bvi, this is a British territory, there are bvislanders right now enjoying all the rights in the uk while holding the same uk passports, now the uk national who come here with these same uk passport have to have a work permit to work, that makes no sense.

    Like 35
    Dislike 17
    • @boom says:

      Oh so you want the BVI to end up like USVI with free movement; locals priced out of the real estate pool? The latter seems to be happening lately by design. How can a country have mainly foreigners that came in the early years controlling the price of local land? That is just beyond me how our Government has allowed that crap. These islands are only so big and you think locals can compete with some of the wealthier UK citizens. There needs to be checks and balances; without that the tables turn not in the VIslander’s favor. Most VI people go to UK for school/work and return home; not make the UK their permanent home!!

      Like 9
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      • Newsflash says:

        @boom. Locals are already priced out. Govt allowed it (rightly or wrongly) to collect stamp duty, and to increase value of land.

    • @boom says:

      It like so because once upon a time we had real leaders with real foresight that cared enough to try and preserve opportunities for the the locals and future generations of locals here the BVI. Just look at right there St. Thomas… St. Thomas people don’t own s**t in St Thomas…. I guess that’s what you want for us here.

      Like 9
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    • okay says:

      That was a law made by the British themselves. They basically pushed it down our throats

      Like 3
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    • US XPat says:

      Very true here.
      Us US mainland citizens and greencard holders don’t need all these permits to move full time and work as many jobs we want to with all the BVI Gov. give to it”s UK citizens !

  10. BS! says:

    @boom – you really think these tiny islands are big enough for everyone in the UK to just come and live and work here when/if they want to? Get real.

    Like 10
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  11. @ boom says:

    The bvi have a population of roughly 30 thousand people. The local population here are descendants of slaves . The slave owners were white men from Europe and Britain. I never heard of a black slave owner in the Caribbean. So i say all this to say you want the British to come rule us again ?? You want them to come and go as freely as they want?? What would become of our few jobs if we allowed the British to just come in ?? You are millions we are a handful. Get a few more brain cells.

    Like 8
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    • Theo says:

      So fixated on European slavery you cant see the slavery right in front of us.

    • ghutty says:

      correction.. the local population stands at 23,000 because people left and return home. i dont know that guy story behind all this but i would say its unfair for him to pay 9 months rent for a place he havent live in for that time. landlord should reconsider giving him back his rent because al they do is collect free rent.. its only fear to payback.

  12. @Don't be silly says:

    Governments do follow rules, regulations and specified processes.

    Speaking about random treatment, put on some Black skin, go to the UK, US or EU and try to get things done normally and fairly. Tola would appear a paradise.

    Hence, would rather live in a “banana republic”than a racist recalcitrant society and people who stubbornly resist the fact that Black people are human beings and should be seen and treated as such.

    Like 8
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  13. informed says:

    The question here is why has the labour department not made a decision for 8 months. Yes or no. They have no reason to not allow an employer to employ someone unless a local/belonger can fulfill the position.
    Mr Day is a carpenter, but having seen Mr days work its not regular carpentry, its very creative and artistic which is something a regular carpenter may struggle to deliver.
    If there are no applicants for the position who are qualified let the employer employ him. Its tax dollars in the bank account for the government.

    Like 22
    Dislike 1
  14. yes says:

    BVI is wicked

    Like 9
    Dislike 7
  15. Movie or a book says:

    This story would make a good movie or a book see if you could find a publisher and start writing your story. We should start to treat others like we would like to be treated . Karma is a b***h and these kind of things does backfire.

    Like 6
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  16. Pale Face says:

    Doesn’t help.

  17. 911 says:

    the laws applies to all including caribbean people or otherwise

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  18. Indigenous Virgin Islander says:

    You again?! Like you can’t catch a hint.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  19. Precedent says:

    There is legal precedent here: the Government agencies have full discretion. But, the obligation to use that discretion fairly and properly.

  20. Joe Mike says:

    Getting a work permit is not a fundamental right. Find a job where you are or head back to England.

  21. Ausar says:

    Government should do their best to make the lives of those who were here PRIOR to the lockdown, as normal as possible, regardless of where they were born!

    Let’s be fair and hospitable!

    Its so sad to read of how a government treats those who have contributed to the building of this country!

    Premier Fahie, DO the right and most civil thing in this place, and REINSTATE his status!

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  22. Talk that says:

    He’s a Caucasian and works for Richard Bronson and not forget he’s a British citizen, so he thinks that automatically give him more rights and privileges than a person who has the same issues working for someone else and from another country or island SMH!!!!!

    Like 4
    Dislike 6
    • Mr Day says:

      Sorry but your wrong.
      I don’t work for Mr Branson. Never have.
      I don’t need to explain in detail my employment in the BVI only to say that I have worked as a carpenter for various businesses, which included over the last couple of years repairing houses damaged from Irma.

  23. Mark says:

    OK so lets assume that the Government wants him not to return to BVI Why not just be frank and tell Mr Day so. I really think the Human Right Organization need to put BVI under the microscope. There is a lot a unethical things being done.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  24. Missing the point children.... says:

    All they need to do is just give the gentleman a straight answer.Show the man some respect..honor their porg folio and position…

  25. Sam says:

    Why so many think they could do what they want this territory when them say jump we must ask how high our regulations do not apply to them in any other part of this world all of them are very complement

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  26. Leveller says:

    Geoff is a good man. He is caring and helpful.

    He helped a lot of people out after Irma with his skills, despite folk stealing his tools.

    He also gets credit for his compassion for animals.

    cmon BVI, just give an answer. and follow the due process. if that turns out that he is not eligible, so be it.

  27. ilo says:

    He has a shanty build on some land a friends lol.

  28. Wow says:

    I thought trump supporters were ignorant but these comments are next level.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Dude just look a job in St Marten and stop wasting your time. Tortola isn’t the only place in the world that needs a carpenter. The BVI is the only place where everybody think they can bully and force their wants and needs on government.

  30. See says:

    The ignorance and racism that is flourishing in the territory will set us back 20 years if we arent Careful what you wish for .

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  31. Shameful says:

    The BVI Government should be ashamed of itself. So called God-fearing people. He’s watching, remember that. The world is watching too. If y’all don’t want the man to live there just tell him. Give him a few weeks to come sort out his belongings and call it George.

  32. Yeah says:

    ‘Living off Tea and Sugar’ because he has no money to buy food. So where does he get the money to pay for the apartment in the BVI if he is unemployed.
    Doesn’t add up.

    • Mr Day says:

      I’ve spent all my savings towards renting the apartment.
      Now that I am broke I have had to ask my parents to send the landlady money since July. It’s hard for them to do this as they are retired and do not have an income anymore.

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