Virgin Islands Party (VIP) candidate for the Sixth Electoral District John Samuel says, if elected, a VIP government plans to create an environment where expats will feel more comfortable to save and invest in the British Virgin Islands.
Samuel who was speaking on the Honestly Speaking radio programme on Tuesday said the systems currently in place for expatriate residents need to be amended.
“There is no way in the world it is fair for you to have someone in your country renewing their temporary work permit one year at a time for 20 years. At some point, I believe we would have to adjust the processes and address some of these issues when someone comes into the country,” he said.
Samuel explained that it would be prudent to have different processes for persons who are seasonal workers and those who come to live.
“We [ought to] deal with it upfront and understand why you (expats) are here, how long you should be here, what benefits you should have or not have and what fees you should or should not pay,” he reasoned.
“If I am living in a country and I am unsure of my status and how long I will be allowed to stay… I am not going to keep my money here. I am going to send my money back to where I know it is secure [and] I am going to try to build a house,” Samuel added.
Can’t blame the expats
The VIP’s candidate said with the current state of affairs, expatriates cannot be blamed for shipping their earnings back home.
“We question why are they exporting all their money, why they are building their houses in Jamaica, Guyana or wherever. But we have not provided them with a sense of security to the point where they will keep their money here and invest their money here,” he said.
“So, there are some things we have to do as well to make sure that more of that money stays in the economy, more of it circulates, and it has to do with how we address Immigration and Labour.”
He said persons from other countries who come to live in the BVI “should be treated as equals, should be comfortable, should have equal opportunities as far as that is possible”.
Samuel, however, said he agrees that locals should have additional rights and privileges.
He further underscored that those privileges ought not to mean locals should “disregard and degrade” persons who come to visit or reside in the BVI.
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