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BVICCHA decries cost of doing business; lauds gov’t

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith interacts with some business owners at the Buy BVI Trade Show

While lauding the National Democratic Party (NDP) government for the work it has been doing to improve the business landscape of the British Virgin Islands, the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVI-CCHA) yesterday called for a working group to be established to examine ways to cut the cost of doing business in the Territory.

“We hope we can work with the government to set up a working group to study the cost and ease to doing business in the BVI to make it better for everybody,” Chairman of the BVI-CCHA Louis Potter said during the launch of the two-day Buy BVI Trade Show at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex on Saturday, April 29.

He also lamented the bureaucratic red tape that exists.

“I know that the premier [Dr D Orlando Smith] is doing a lot to support business, but the one thing that we will like for the Chamber to do – and we will like you businesses to support us in encouraging him (the premier) to do is to look into the cost of doing business, both from a point of view of cost and a point of view of regulations and all the different steps you have to go through.”

“When you as a businessperson try to do your business, we want to make it simpler and easier so that it can be more effective and efficient, and in turn be better able to serve your customers,” added Potter.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith, in response to Potter at the trade show, said his administration is interested in further rolling out the ‘red carpet’ for local entrepreneurs.

“One of the things that I have been encouraging for many years is the idea that the public service is there; their job is to support the local people in whatever they do – whether through business, accessing government service, and whatnot. The job of Government really is to support and work with the local population. I still call it let us roll out the red carpet for business. We’ve been doing that. We have been encouraging that,” the premier said.

Entrepreneurial space attractive

Meanwhile, Potter, who is also Chairman of the governing NDP, indicated that the economic climate in the Territory is ripe for investment.

“From the point of view of entrepreneurship in the BVI; it is a very important time. Many many things are going on in the entrepreneurial space. A lot of that has been pushed by the leadership of our honourable premier of promoting entrepreneurship throughout his political career.”

“The premier is really pushing entrepreneurship and business development, and he would like to see nothing more than some businesses from here move overseas to spread the word of the BVI. So, let us work together not only for the premier, but for the country,” Potter further said.

Chairman of the BVI-CCHA Louis Potter

Elaborating on existing opportunities, the BVI-CCHA chairman mentioned the expansion of the cruise ship pier in Road Town, the relaunch of the National Business Bureau, as well as Premier Smith’s involvement in COSME – the European Union programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Potter urged more belongers to capitalize on the opportunities and become involved in businesses, adding that the BVI has what it takes to ‘conquer the world’ in terms of entrepreneurship.

“We are hoping that we can see local persons become involved in business – start big or start small or start in the middle – don’t really matter. But we want to see you continue to grow year after year. We want to see you not only grow locally, but we want to see you grow to the point where you move overseas,” Potter further reasoned. He noted that a few BVI businesses already have expanded into other countries.

“The world’s famous are wearing our swim suit; the world is drinking our liquor. So there is good reason to believe that we will eventually continue to grow and conquer the world,” added the BVI-CCHA chairman.

Treat your customers right

Potter, in the meantime, emphasized that businesses also have a role to play in ensuring their own success.

“We want to emphasize to you that your business will grow depending on the quality service that you give to the community… Consider every customer to be an honoured guest in your store,” he told operators of the more than 60 businesses that he said had set up display booths inside the Muti-Purpose Sports Complex, Tortola.

Other persons who addressed the launch of the 2017 Buy BVI Trade Show yesterday included President of the BVI-CCHA Troy Christopher as well as Abigail O’Neal who spoke on behalf of vendors at the event. The event continues today, April 30.

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