BVI News

BVI’s labour needs to be assessed so locals can be trained to fill gaps

Labour & Immigration Minister, Vincent Wheatley.

Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said his ministry will soon implement an initiative that will help to determine the exact labour needs of the territory.

The minister made the announcement during a live public broadcast with senior members of the Ministry of Labour & Immigration Sunday night, September 13.

He said once the territory’s labour needs are assessed, he will work closely with the Education Ministry to train local residents to fill labour shortages.

Wheatley said they will then “heavily finance” the H Lavity Stoutt Community College and begin training locals to function within the economy.

“I think sometimes we train our people for things that aren’t really relevant in our economy. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t know where you are going. We have to modernise our systems for gathering information that can inform our decisions,” he said.

The minister called the initiative a “Labour Assessment Needs”, saying it will give a breakdown of the BVI’s labour force according to gender, work permits, and the number of persons employed in various professions.

“As soon as we can see our way clear, we will be doing a Labour Assessment Needs of the entire country. If someone asked me right now, how many plumbers are on work permit in this country, we can find the answer. But it will take us a very, very long time. With this new system, we can track work permits by gender, profession and origin,” Wheatley explained.

Localising the workforce

In recent times, Wheatley has been urging the BVI’s employers to hire more local workers to reduce the territory’s dependence on foreign labour.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic presents a new opportunity for employers to hire locally and improve the BVI’s economy.

“With this pandemic, we have to keep the money flowing in the economy as much as possible. We want as many locals, Belongers, and nationalised persons in the community employed before we bring in outside persons. We want people to look at the local pool first before we try to look outside.” Wheatley added.

Approximately 70 percent of the BVI’s labour force comprises expats while the remaining 30 percent comprises BVIslanders.  


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  1. Let's go sailing says:

    Yes! Let us have more locals working on yachts. It would be great to see some local people willing to live on board a yacht full time and serve up to 10 tourists who are in their personal space year round. Approximately 25 charters a year with 24 hour turnarounds, full responsibility for maintenance, and ALWAYS a smile with a great attitude. There are no holidays, no sick days, and you can’t get off the yacht. it’s a tiny little prison cell with a bunch of really needy and often annoying people, but the pay is mediocre. To the seas and beyond. If the borders ever open, of course.

    Like 26
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    • @ Let's go sailing says:

      Oh come on! The season is not 12 months long. Plenty of opportunity for some down time in the closed period and you’re not stuck onboard 24/7 either. If you’re going to comment, at least be factual. If it was really so bad, you wouldn’t be doing it.

    • Well says:

      Black people had to indoor much worse on those death trap ships that your ancestors brought them over here on. So I believe all will be well.

  2. fact based decision makng says:

    Not only you cant know where you are going you don’t even know which way to go in the absence of the facts. excellent point and good initiative.

    Taylor make an educational program inline with the local needs.

    I would be interested to know the unemployment level of Belongers and non Belonger residents?

    The college needs investment and likely curriculum changes to offer world class levels of education combined with a solid co-op / internship from basic skilled trades through management and leadership programs.
    Maybe partner with a non Caribbean university or college which could shorten the time frame to get it up and running as well as not reinventing the wheel??

  3. free advice says:


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  4. Rabsatt says:

    Well said Hon.Wheatley!
    There are many belongers/residents in the BVI who are contruction workers were placed on the sidelines whilst numerous of expats has been brought in after the storms.It has cause a friction between those who were here already! Many were disturbed by this action! knowing that they have their rent, loan and other bills to pay.
    Thanks Hon. Wheatley!

    Like 4
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  5. Work permits by gender? says:

    In what age are you living minister?

    It’s 2020!

    Like 18
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    • It's ok says:

      I don’t feel he wants to restrict any type of work to a particular gender. But it is a good idea to know the gender percentages of your workforce, and who is doing what. It’s reasonable.

  6. Give Credit says:

    Whether or not you agree with Vincent’s approach, this is the most attention I’ve ever seen a Labor Minister give to labor issues and the employment locals/Virgin Islanders. I commend you Mr. Wheatley. Press on.

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    • Max says:

      @Give Credit: I agree with you wholeheartedly. I need a Minister of Labour who put BVIslanders first. We are tired being placed at the back of the queue. What we don’t want is a Minister who is beholden to big money and special interests. We had enough of that.

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    • @Give Credit says:

      Anybody can make a set of noise pretending like they care, it doesn’t mean s**t. The reality is NO PRIVATE BUSINESS will hire people just because Vincent and VIP says so. How can you talk about empowering locals and nowhere in their speech they talk about proper training and setting up programs to assist accordingly. This is just pure hog wash pandering to the few locals are are unemployed and now they are looking for someone to blame. It is no different to people in the UK blaming Cayman, BVI and other low/no-tax jurisdictions for them not having any money now. If VIP is so concerned about locals getting jobs why did they discontinue the YES program that they met when they were elected? That program helped many locals especially young people by providing proper hands-on training, engaging private sector and being consistent with follow-ups. All Vincent is doing is talking, spewing hot air. Notice how all his talk is against the down islanders and Spanish, he says nothing about the EURO expats. What we have here is a b***n-n***r pretender who only has energy for the lower class of the expats.

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      • Please says:

        Many people are brought into the country claiming that they are capable and qualified for their employment but are not. They too require training. The difference is that they can be easily victimized by their employers.

  7. Captain BVI says:

    This initiative shouldn’t take long as the Labor Dept and Immigration has all of this information on hand, in triplicate no less. But I’m sure some consultant will be paid $100,000 to design a form that asks for a person’s name, gender, and job type!

    Like 15
    • @ Captain BVI says:

      That’s the problem though, isn’t it. The records are all on damned paper stuffed into moldy old files, instead of in a searchable database. Because computers were only invented recently?? Just so backwards!

  8. Reality Check says:

    Firstly, at its very core, your population is dependent on foreigners. Many locals are married to non-locals because the indigenous BVI population is too small to grow the population. So you either have foreigners coming in to cohabit with locals OR you can deal with your indigenous population leaving to pursue relationships abroad. The result is that even if you keep all the jobs for locals, you will still have non-locals who need to work, or your population will decrease with local leaving, hence decreasing the already minuscule local workforce… resulting in a greater need for importing foreign Labour. Let that socioeconomic conundrum sink in.

    Like 19
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    • @Reality Check says:

      Firstly, at its very core, your population is dependent on foreigners.

      Tell that to the diverse sets of people that lived & died here, from the Indians, to the colonialists, to the descendants of slaves.

      Secondly you put yourself down to the level of egg & sperm donor but fear not some visitors want chocolate in the Caribbean.

      When the amount of expat workers threatens to change the very culture of the VI, as a small territory, that is a problem.

      Increasingly tourist can not get a authentic VI experience & they cant tell all they see are dark skin people hustling them.

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  9. Need a Maid says:

    Can you train BVIslanders to show up on time, every time, work hard, be honest, and stay on the job. Oh, and clean toilets, wash down walls and furniture, clean the oven and scrub the counters.

    Like 18
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    • Real Talk says:

      Also not to be on there mobile phones all the time.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Answer: If you need a maid that says off the phone and you believe that BVIslanders cannot…move back home to your flawless country and hire to your heart’s desire!

    • @need a maid says:

      How about clean your own house? And most of the dishonest domestics I assume you are referring too aren’t even from here. So what are you talking about?

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    • @Need a maid says:

      Answer: If you need a maid that work this hard for you and you believe that BVIslanders cannot…move back home to your flawless country and hire to your heart’s desire!

  10. Facts not in evidence says:

    This approach assumes that locals want to do the jobs that expats have been brought in for. Many don’t. There is no vocational school here to begin with. It also assumes that locals will offer the same level of productivity. and work ethic as expats who come here from less prosperous places and work hard to send money back home.

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  11. Great says:

    Mr Minister please continue to speak this language, eventually people will get use to it. For too long, attention has been focused on everyone else except bvislanders and belongers. You will have push back because you are upsetting the apple cart of some who are comfortable. But if we are going to build our people, training and succession planning is a must. This is done in every island in the Caribbean. It had to be done in the BVI. Who don’t like it knows what to do.

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  12. Windy says:

    Train them that slippers with socks are not work boots.

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  13. @great says:

    The idea is very gud but lets not forget dis is d bvi we only complain to geat it and wen we do we dnt want it lets see how much of us local dat really interested in dis most of us want more and. D more dat d bvi cant offer yes we will take the training in certain areas and den u no wat we will do we will still travel abroad to the US and ENGLAND. And live and use dat training we wont do it here so how will dat benifit d work firce here most of us just want d oppotunity to get to live dis place and call another place home we only cum to tola wen its rough or theres a diasater or pandemic like dis we remember bvi is home

  14. Accounts says:

    Again the balance not balancing.
    The attack is only on non belongers honorable minister. The issue is with the belongers who have not gotten used to not having a phone in their hand. It’s about the belongers not being able to take directions and instructions. So train in respect and obedience work at every level and dress appropriately for the job then you’ll be.on the right road to success.

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  15. Lol says:

    You are wicked man
    I want to see when you finish training your people how much will stay and work here the would take your certificate and move to the US or UK and you will look like an i***t
    You want the businesses to hire local, fine first get raid of the expats at the hospital, education, police, government places etc, can you do that? No… you know why your people are not qualified for the job and won’t work for the low income you want to pay. So stop your nonsense telling people to hire local the business people need trustworthy, hardworking, good customer services and honest workers. Soon all the trust companies and investors will leave and your island will fall to nothing
    You are a h****less man

    Like 6
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    • @Lol says:

      Who is truly wicked you or he? If BvIslanders wish to leave, this is their country and their human right to do so, just like you and many in your country have left. Moreover, it seems from your blog that you are not very happy about having to return home yourself.

  16. Lodger says:

    Hon minister, its called a CENSUS. We are supposed to have one every ten years, but the last one was a disaster and never completed properly. The only way you know approx our present population is through NHI and that was corrupted by non residents coming to register.

  17. SMFH says:

    Let’s not focus on the schools, let us leave the kids at home to sit in front of a buffering computer, while getting mediocre education and then demand that business owners who put all their sweat and money in their businesses to hire them regardless of business requirements. Yes, that should work, keep up the good works.

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  18. Turn around says:

    I thought this was is a “Labour needs assessment” and not a ” Labour Assessment Needs”.

  19. Belongers says:

    This will of course apply to belongers living outside the BVI I imagine? Oh no, that’s called racism in other countries…

    • @Belongers says:

      Racism defined – the belief that different Races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.

      Truly not the same!

  20. @Belongers says:

    Racism is already being practiced against the BVIslander and Belonger by the assumption that all are lazy,untrustworthy, unqualified and all the adjectives thrown at them, that in itself is racism. But guess what it is Ok for you to practice such against the BVIslander and Belonger and now Hon. Wheatley is calling for it to stop you all crying fowl. Because the Belongers must starve while you get to build your mansions and swimming pools in your country.

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