BVI News

Businesses urged to localise their workforce

Vincent Wheatley

Local businesses are being urged to localise their workforce with qualified BVIslanders.

Speaking at the October Entrepreneur Meet-Up hosted by Forge BVI, Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said he hopes businesses start to hire more qualified local people.

“Part of our plan is to localise our work force as much as possible or as much as practical,” Wheatley said about his government.

“We want to put a system in place where you are told at least three months in advance that you do not need to apply for this particular job or a work permit because there is someone for the job who is local and they were away now they are back,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of HireBVI, Rekeema Turnbull, also shares the same sentiments as the minister. Her company, HireBVI, seeks to provide services to local businesses to help them find more employable people while adhering to the requirements set by the government regarding employability.

She said her company has a job board which is accepted by the Labour Department as a mode of a job advertisement. Turnbull added that employers should follow the rule of finding qualified BVIslanders before seeking foreign employees more seriously.

“We should not just tick a box here but we should actively look for qualified BVIslanders.” The HireBVI CEO said.

“As you know, the ad has to run for two weeks and it expires after six months. So, after that six months, run that ads again and try to find that qualified BVIslander,” Turnbull added.

The entrepreneur linkup last Thursday is among a series of workshops hosted by Forge which seeks to equip local entrepreneurs with the knowledge and expertise to expand their business.

The linkup was about dealing with labour and immigration processes and how employers can easily and manoeuvre the local requirements.


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  1. Employer says:

    The main problem I find, there are very few qualified locals and many don’t actually want to work as hard and as diligently as others. Mock me but this is true and very sad to say.

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    • Jim says:

      You’re completely right. There are not enough local workers to fill all of the positions. We are woefully understaffed and not prepared for the huge rush of tourists coming. Our tourism sector just isn’t ready and hopefully, our brand is not damaged or tarnished because of it. Slow or inadequate service is something tourists do not want and they will crucify you online for it. We blindly eliminated work permit holders expecting belongers to fill those positions, but they don’t want to work them.

      Like 60
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    • Yup says:

      Belongers lazy and don’t work. Think they be entitled. To wat we don’t know. Sit under shade trees and deal drugs. Wait till the end of the week for work permit money. Disgusting lot of people. Hope COI takes care of dem.

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    • @employer says:

      You people only see black you have no idea who the locals are which is very sad.
      The big question is why locals support businesses that don’t hire locals especially in times when all your preferred customers flee post hurricane and pandemic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Which industry are you referring to ?

  2. Oriely says:

    This man always putting his foot in his farn mouth. Doea he think before engaging brain. Who is advising this bloke?

    Like 45
  3. Antony says:

    The thing is the ones that are educated enough are also smart enough to know that working in upper management in hotels in the BVI is more difficult and less rewarding than working in upper management elsewhere so they go elseware. Most upper management in the BVI who are not from here don’t realize the s**t storm they are accepting when they accept the position. Upper management isn’t the problem in the BVI

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  4. son of the soil says:

    Do not be afraid to represent your people…Do not worry about those outsiders who will bash you, just defend your own first

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  5. SIMPLE says:


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    • @SIMPLE says:

      Then our BVI Brand will suffer beyond bounds. Show me good locals to employ and I will! It hard when you employ local staff and they dont turn up on time for work, in fact somedays, they just dont turn up at all. This has been fact for far too long!!

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    • Covid19 says:

      Try an see the island fall

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    • Care says:

      That is what they suppose to do . Stop giving out new permits especially also transfers . But they wnt money to put back in Dr treasury after they done squaderit .

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    • Faith says:

      How will they make money when is that running the country, he rely on it, treat people bad, you can run to another man county but you hate expats

    • Fatigue says:

      SIMPLE just asked the minister to approve new permits without even understanding what he wrote. Have you ever heard of “Double Negatives”? Go back to English 101 and this time (assuming you have been previously) and this time try to understand what you are taught.

    • Expat says:

      Then you will not have any business!!

  6. Mister Wheatley says:

    What did outsiders do you? What did expatriates take from you? Why do you hate them so? Did an expat take away a lady from you or something?

    Fine, get the locals to clean your streets, toilets, work in the sewerage (of which a percentage is yours). Big man, you only big for 4 years, if you make it so far. relax yourself and work with everybody. Don’t spit on nobody cause the day you out of power you don’t know where you going end up and its the same island man who might be the one to help you.

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    • Permit holder says:

      Pure facts like what does he have against expats this man is just out for expats omg. Expats are the ones holding this country together for Christ sake gosh man smfh.Focus on something else. It’s always something about expats. We ain’t do u anything wrong we are just working and paying way more tax etc than the people from here.

  7. LOL says:

    Fork force ? i this the team that feeds f&tty in charge ? no one went hungry during the covid lock downs , especially not him

    this simple spelling mistake is why you need outsiders you do not have the skills nor the inclination to do anything for yourself’ s you think sitting at work on your phone is a hard days work and you get angry when someone dares disturb you , this island is so stuck in the 1960’s its laughable

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  8. Really disappointed says:

    Mr weathley i swear in your short time running. U have made the BVI a worst place for down fall. I font seems to understand who expat did u wrong but for a man of God u try to make people believe u worst than satan him. Who is u to tell me as an business owner. Ehh i have to go bank for thousand of dollars telling me to choose who u think is best for my business. What the f…. is this crap. I have the right to put who i find fitted in myyyyyyyyy business. Since u became the mister of killing this island. All u did in this area of Natural resources is cause death of chain reaction to this economy. You need to repent an seek God. U change the work permit structure most of the good hairdresser already left this place. Changing the immigration time and work permit that seems to be working for years u cause a decrease in the downfall of this island. First u so hate the expat that u dont realise that they are the one renting the same apartments that the BVI home owners the banks wants to take their home. Cause the people the expats are living. I hope u ready to face the chain reaction u causing. You making a mess of this country. I hope u see it. Stop what u doing. I ugre u to become a man with a heart and stop the buritalizing of expats. U killing this island economics and u killing BVi islanders and belongers home rental. U put your same people in a hole while u claim to say u care u aint caring u creating a disloyal work force for people business. Yes u can ugre me but u cannot tell labour department not to process my permit as a BVI belonger. U out of place. I know u mr weathley u will not receive my vote. I counting the days to get u out of my sight. U is an e**l man. And vindictive ra**st person. U need to repent. And stop with the racistism. U from this island an is white people u like so live us alone. U aint doing good for none of us.

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  9. hmm says:

    qualifications is only half the story… Aint a few months ago a business owner was in the news trying to make the argument they cant find a local to serve ice cream? some of these business owners want slaves.

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    • Cat says:

      Slaves? They want people that WORK. You call people that work slaves? I guess. That is why people that WORK on this island are not belongers. They are not from Tortola. I guess that makes them slaves

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    • At u says:

      Loyality u call it. Not slaves. If a man has a person employ for years. That person is most like trust worthy an dependaple. Not calling in sick unless it nessicary. Always on the job. Customer service efficient. U know the locals lack thoses thing. Finding them a job. Is for vote wises once the place returns to normal they all gone back states and uk so pls. Try dont press ne down. My business is mines not the government owner. Yes i accept your thoughts and concern but at the end of the day is my business. Weathley is an e**l ma. I pray he repent. He bankrupting this country. Can u see. We beed expats to rent our homes. Etc. How the hell they aint tell u all how much money work permits bring into this country. No one never ask. Tourism is one but western union is the other. But pls let us know what a yearly reports on work permits is in this place. If the country was making money in work permit weathley kill it dead. He buying up land and giving belongers to who is find he can get deals from but the little black expats he upset over them. Sickenkng man he is. Hurry let me take back my xxxxx u never recieve my vote. My family so big. He will miss this 5p+ votes. Dont wan him there any more go

  10. EVIL MENTALITY says:

    after what they are doing with that money gram and western union FIASCO am not surprised / and chubby bragging bhow much he ripped off our Caribbean brothers and sisters

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  11. WH? WHY? WHY? says:


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    • BAM! says:

      Is like they forget!

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    • Who says:

      Who he defending thats sounds like u weathley. No one ask u for u stupid help. U cause a mess. Strupessss

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    • @WHY? says:

      Yet BVIslanders go and birth their kids in PR so that they can get them a US passport and educated there. Or they go to the UK. Then those kids never want to come back to the BVI except maybe for a visit, because it’s not a place that they ever want to live and work in. Meanwhile you need the expats to come here to work in your businesses, but most of you hate them so.

  12. Sick and tired says:

    Wheatley….you can’t get out of office fast enough. You 2 faced, r**ist HYPOCRITE!!!

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  13. talk that !! says:

    Go to the USVI and see who running/holding top jobs in the 5 star hotels, bvislanders of course.

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    • @talk that !! says:

      Exactly – because even BVIslanders don’t want to work in this stink hole!! They would rather pay US taxes than live/work here.

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  14. Vodka says:

    What is it with this man. Try to understand how the economy works before making all these stupid politically motivated statements. After you take a shot of something to drink is pure foolishness coming out your mouth.

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  15. Resident says:

    I’m not a local but I totally agree with Mr Wheatley. Yes we know that some BVIslanders have poor work ethics but I beg to disagree that it should be a generalization. There are many students who go away but cannot get jobs when they return. All he is saying if you have an expat try to get a local as an understudy. Another thing is for local businesses to provide training for your employees. Don’t assume that everyone has basic manners and know how to treat customers. We do not know what they went through growing up.

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  16. Covid19 says:

    U running the country with hate agiaint off island ?peoples….they help build this lil island…one day they will leave an hope the local will pay all the permit an the apartment rents…u killing your own island…

    Like 19
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    • LOL says:

      All those permits, we pay tax here and we also pay a tax every year to have a work permit and to top that off they then make you wait 2 or 3 months cause they are basiclly useless at their jobs and you have to pay for your extension ( this is a stealth tax to claw more money out of expats when they are already being taxed twice for being here)
      This is the only place i ever known where everyone has to spend days sitting in a stuffy office just for some grumpy local to allow you to live and work here and acts like they are amazing for doing so

      one day and soon the way they are taxing us and treating us we will all think sod this and we will leave , then you will suffer , the income from us expats is astronomical but you all go on about BVI love and we need locals to do these jobs , the only reason he wants locals is cause they work for peanuts ( when they do work) but don’t forget that old saying “pay peanuts and get monkeys” ( no rascism intended just the saying)

      Like 18
  17. Windy says:

    Qualified but what about ethics ?

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  18. Serious. says:

    Next election they need to vote this man out and elect his wife. At least she knows what it is like to struggle with payroll and employing staff with bad attitudes .

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  19. Smh says:


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  20. Hmmmm says:

    Ask him if as Minister whether he commissioned a proper study to ascertain what the job needs are in the Territory, I will bet the answer is NO! So what the f**k is he making his statements based on? As usual, ABSOLUTELY F**KING NOTHING but pure politics. We were shut down for over 18 months and had the perfect opportunity to try to understand our labor needs and what would be required to ensure that more locals get opportunities. Instead we argued with the UK, give away money to people who didn’t need it and now a super busy tourism season is on us and hospitality businesses cannot find suitable candidates. It’s not a hit against locals, it’s just a reality. If you have 100 locals qualified for a certain jobs but 300 of those jobs are available, then what?

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    • LOL says:

      Its the same back home


      well, you should have thought about that before you locked us down and forced people who already was on low wages to leave since they was rascist and said they are not locals so they are not getting any help, this may come as a suprise but people who got no income are not going to stay when they have no money for extreamly high stupid rents and no money for the extreamly high food prices in this territory , they will leave and with a bad taste in their mouths about how they was treated here and will swear to never return

      i am sure there was and is much rejoicing that they left cause all these amazing locals will fill those jobs with easy ( in their fantasy world this is the dream) shame its not the reality

      but hey BVI LOVE ( which is only for locals and fu*k anyone else especially if your not the same col*ur

  21. Bad man says:

    Leave him he can’t do more than is time God is good

  22. Improve education first says:

    Instead of fighting against businesses and expats, please start fighting for improving education system. Kids should develop strong learning skills and achievement attitude. Everything starts from school. Only after working hard in school you can get responsible and hard working local work force. Add foreign languages and send best students abroad for studies. Grow your own workforce to be competitive with their skills, than where they have been born. This is my message. Direct your energy to fight FOR your teachers and schools and than AGAINST expats!

    Like 13
    • Lucifer says:

      This is the proper long term solution. It needs to be dealt with from the ground up and that means education. If you improve the education system and raise the standards of those that the BVI education systems produces, you remove the need to bring in expats to fill the gaps that underqualified locals can not. Beating on the expats is just a copout and if the expats go, who will be paying for the overinflated rentals and replacing the revenue generated by work permit fees? Its what keeps the BVI going

  23. Maybell says:

    Up until the big financial crisis of 2007-2008 you could run a business as badly and cheaply as possible in the BVI and you could make money. Things were that good. We became addicted to CHEAP unskilled expat employees, some could barely speak English if at all, some could not read or write and others would come in with fake or highly exaggerated qualification documents, you know who you are, and governments were not to concerned about enforcing the policies that were there to ensure good business practices. All to be able to pay the minimum for maximum return. Once this abusive system is in place there is very little need or no need at all to create a culture of work experience for junior and senior high school youths for part time and weekend work for the purpose of gaining work experience. Most businesses are closed now from August to October so no summer jobs. Our newly college graduates don’t seem to grasp or understand the resume building ideal and those positions offered in our tourism sector all seem to be given away to the young adults from the UK and US. We are afraid of head hunting for the best because that would mean we have to pay more but never thinking about the return or benefits of hiring better. BUT things have changed, it is much more competitive for those tourist dollars in the Caribbean. Our clients are demanding more and better. Cost of living is much, much higher and living here is not as affordable as it use to be. There will always be room for the expat employee but we must look after our own first as would any other country would for their citizens.
    It is time to hire qualified persons pay them what they are worth, make them accountable for their job and what they bring to your business. There are some wonderful talented people in the BVI who with progressive forward thinking employers can make businesses in the BVI shine.

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  24. SMH says:

    We businesses do try to employ locals that are qualified. AND when we can’t find someone, we are held to ransom to “try” someone local who may be able to do the job whilst we await a permit for someone who is actually qualified.

  25. Expat hater says:

    This man is an expat hater, his entire Department targets expats, how can you hate on expats when the BVI don’t even have a Medical School or a University ? What is so wrong is qualified expats come with their training especially in the medical field, because BVI is still developing … come on man !!! Where is the social cohension among locals and expats, I don’t blame the belongers and the citizens, because the politicians especially Mr. Wheatley and his administration has done such an excellent job inculcating this hatred for expats into the locals, it’s a system , we are all going to die and return to dust ? So why does this man and his administration hate expats so much ?

  26. re says:

    As you know, the ad has to run for two weeks and it expires after six months. So, after that six months, run that ads again and try to find that qualified BVIslander,” Turnbull added. That does not make any sense. Time is money.

  27. Employer says:



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  28. Observer says:

    It is the government responsibility to look out for the native,so i agree, however the caribbean is being force out and asia is being welcome with open arms..

  29. Kc says:

    Something definitely wrong with this dude . Always wants to be relevant. After your 4 years we shall see. Remember mw after the election. The field is big ,keep running ?‍♀️ till. Pheoh was more powerful then you and read what happened to him joker.

  30. James says:

    Now I rarely comment but just have to ask? What is wrong with the Minister, a BVIslamder looking our for BVIslanders? Whatp**ses me off is when Expats bash BVIslanders for looking out for our people. What the …ck I telling me. BVIslanders can’t go Jamaica to bash the Jamaican Government for looking out for Jamaicans. We can’t go Saint Vincent to bash Vincentian politicians for looking out for Vincentians. How dare any expat here in this BVI think they can bash a BVI politician for looking out for BVIslanders? Are you kidding me? This is what p**ses me off. We BVIslanders are to welcoming.

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    • Agree says:

      You are 100 percent right. I think it is highly insulting. All of you who have an issue with BVIslanders looking out for.BVIslanders, need to go back HOME!!

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  31. Faith says:

    But if there are no expats the economy would be more dry, am sure is there your funds coming from ridgt now, got to pay 2 sets of 25$ now when a permit is inside, is like they sleep on permits so expats can pay for more time. I believe that is bleeding the people that work for so little pay. You need to love the expats and don’t treat them like dirty because when your people run to the States they are not treats trash

  32. @james says:

    Thank you! It needed to be said long time and they know it. On top of it all the Caribbean expats are allowing themselves to be to be foolishly used and manipulated by the masters of spin and lies expats.

  33. @ KING JAMES & OBSERVER says:

    you missed the message and seemed blinded by EVILNESS, we all know we have to look out for ourselves first , ( so why the government hired those British attorneys to defend them , instead of virgin
    Islanders ? ? ) or our Caribbean Brothers and sisters ? ?

  34. From vg says:

    I was born in vg but married and live in the Caribbean with my Caribbean husband am working with the government here To be honest I didn’t have any cxc certificate that was required for my job but I get the job and I went and further my education now I say this to say we from the bvi need to leave and come to the islands to see and understand life Mr Wheatley you need to stop the bashing of expats they help build our little nation. I willnt be voting you back you are a wicked son of a *******.

  35. Sad says:

    I am a local businessman, indigenous BVI, I am sad to say the locals have no work ethics, they feel entitled… expats work hard and grateful for the job. I have tried, but Sad

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  36. #784 says:

    The minister and many others like him are treaten by other carribbean persons working in the bvi,they act as if persons from other countries wrking in the bvi is a problem. Mr. Minister don’t forget that those same persons are the ones who rebuild the bvi, they are the ones that reach out and help putting the bvi bck together. Mr. Minister don’t forget that the bvi is also a Caribbean country not because you use the US$ means that you are better than others. Many of you who bash and wanna treat the ppl of other Caribbean countries like they are nothing is a clear example of those who NEVER been to other carribean islands because if you did you will never be acting the way you all are doing. With that been said I am a proud 784 and will always be no matter where I go. I must say that am thankful for the time I hav spend here and with that in mind I know that one day i must go back to my BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY 784.

  37. lillian says:

    i got business and i dont want locals at all!! i want my expats!! point blank!

  38. Hnmmm says:

    This sounds like a trick question,,,but He’s is referring to the white locals you guys needs to read between the line ..

  39. Freemasons says:

    Worthless Wheatley at it again

  40. smh says:

    Such a broken record, over and over and over… but the high-end employers have a store full of foreigners stocking shelves…

  41. Anonymous says:

    There is a two-pronged approach to this story.

    Yes we all want qualified locals;Locals that care about their work, that show up, that call in if they’re not going to show up, and so forth.

    I am not so harping on qualifications because when I began, I was not qualified, and it was the goodness of the caring employer that gave me many second chances, even when I didn’t deserve it. Therefore, I too, can overlook it at times!

    However, to keep an employee, employers should be willing to offer bonuses,offer remunerations or gifts for employee of the month,employee outings-restaurant night outs,spa packages,-incentives to boost morales of employees.

    And, even a pay hike, every few years; a few cents per year,would suffice. Every bit adds up!

    It is a give-and-take approach, that should be encouraged by both employer and employee.

    It’s a workable solution, if both entities would put aside their differences, and work toward the common good for the company.

  42. Expat says:

    The problem is you should be protecting the local population and workforce. But when the local staff want a job and expect the job but do not want to be trained (because y=they know it all) or get offended every time you offer direction it is most frustrating for the employer. People constantly calling out and saying that their last shift was stressful; all excuses. If they don’t want to do anything they don’t do it! And to top it all off the first response is “I am going to labour!”

    It is really shameful that some do not want to learn but expect everything to be handed to them. All I can say is shame on you for not wanting to learn and let expats come take the jobs.

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