BVI News

COMMENTARY: BVIslanders not entitled or lazy

By Dickson Igwe, Contributor

The Virgin Islands economy composed of the financial services industry, ecotourism and maritime, and the domestic market economy is the core tool for the empowerment of Virgin Islanders and citizens.

The economy works in partnership with local and foreign investors for the mutual benefit of Virgin Islanders, citizens, and residents.

The economy cannot become a means by which specific interests disenfranchise and dis- empower citizens.

There are signs that this may be happening. OK. Post Irma, Virgin Islanders and Virgin Islands citizens appear to have come under the onslaught of aspersions and innuendo from specific quarters that are not only inaccurate, but apparently designed to disembowel the local culture and way of life.

At a vulnerable time for citizens, negative rhetoric by specific interests has become the order of the day.

Now, this Old Boy is basically an empiricist.

He worships at the altar of God and Jesus Christ of course but he also vibrates with excitement at rational thought, reason, and logic.

The preceding have been virtues completely lacking since Irma and Maria devastated the territory’s economy in September 2017.

Entitled and lazy

Ok. Some prominent citizens have made allusions that Virgin Islands youth are ‘entitled and lazy’.

Not only are these assertions completely inaccurate, they are an insult to the local culture and traditional way of life.

To bring context to this story, it has to be stated that the Virgin Islands has always been essential, economically, socially, and racially segregated.

Rich go to rich schools. Whites go to white schools. The rest go to public schools.

Various communities within the greater community tend to socialize and exist separately. And so on and so forth.

Entitlement exists in all societies

Any concept of entitlement is not a unique feature of any one social group. Entitlement exists yes: it exists in all the various ethnic sets.

To say it is specific to any one social group is a completely flawed assertion. Social segregation is a feature of the community that has been swept under the carpet.

It is one reason specific crimes are difficult to solve. Segregation is a hangover from the days of slavery, plantation, and colonialism.

Heaven knows why it is a silent matter. It is a ‘no go area’ for social commentary. But it is a feature of VI community that is glaringly obvious to any observer of British Virgin Islands society.

Like segregation everywhere, it is subtle. It is also innocuous. Segregation is a universal evil.

However, in a micro-community, it becomes especially overt and malevolent. Social separation is an ever-present subculture of these Paradise islands.

Damaging

And it is very damaging to all: ruler and ruled; white and black; wealthy and poor. Social Segregation will never produce a safe, cohesive, and harmonious, culture and society, for these Virgin Islands.

Social integration is the one option for harmony. However, integration is accepting the native culture as the dominant Modus Vivendi by all residents and guests.

There are economic factors in the social segregation of Virgin Islands society. The society is top down, and practices an austere type of economics, even though government is the largest employer.

That divergence in the economy has to do with geography, history, and social demographics.

However, the preceding sociology is acceptable to this Old Boy, and he has never made it an issue.

Absurd

If it is acceptable for the country to exist in a type of splendid separation of the various ethnic, racial, and social groups and subtypes and sets, who is he to comment on this absurdity, idiosyncrasy and anachronism.

Where he swiftly pulls the sword out the scabbard, is when one social set believes it has the authority and right to label the other as ‘lazy and entitled’.

Then goes on to infer that certain foreign imported elements have a better work ethic and more efficient way than the local workforce.

Not to be unreasonable and patronizing like people who generalize about ‘entitled’ Virgin Islanders, and not to generalize, but this writer will swiftly add that the vast majority of employers does not hold this idea that certain foreigners are better workers.

This writer’s great friend and old school buddy is a fellow Briton and hotelier who manages a very well known bayfront hotel.

The man delights in employing Virgin Islanders, and he goes out of his way to ensure their welfare and wellbeing with generous financial support.

Post Irma, he has been enormously generous to his workforce who have been put out of work.

Subtle segregation

But it now appears the subtle segregation, a sad reality of this territory is increasingly becoming a feature of the imported labour matrix, with specific nationals considered better employees than others.

This is simple patronage and is used as an excuse to change the employment matrix at the grassroots, for the benefit of specific elements in the society.

One could even label the idiosyncrasy, racist. It is totally inaccurate that these foreigners are better in the workplace than locals.

This consumer has had some pretty terrible customer service from these imported, ‘bright lights’ in the services and retail sector, so there!

In any event, this assertion that these imports are better at customer services than locals is the same assertion that has been used to keep blacks in the deep south USA in economic and social shackles for decades since Civil Rights attempted to free blacks in the USA from social and economic oppression.

Tool of empowerment

The tragedy is this: economics is a tool of freedom for VI Youth. The economy is a tool of empowerment for Virgin Islanders and residents.

However, the economy, which belongs to the country, and no one specific business or person must not be hijacked by certain interests to change the composition of the local workforce.

Virgin Islanders are not as stupid as these people who call down natives in the workforce believe.

These damaging assertions that locals are lazy and entitled are simply an excuse to continue to import labour into the territory while locals go unemployed.

Locals are bread and butter of many businesses

Locals who are the bread and butter of many of these businesses who inaccurately label natives as entitled.

This idea that specific foreigners are better workers is a growing narrative that must be stifled immediately before it grows and infects labour policy to the detriment of Citizens of the country.

It is a type of manipulation of the labour matrix that is very subtle.

However, it is designed to change the facts on the ground to the detriment of Virgin Islands Natives and Citizens.

The question is this: post-Irma with rising unemployment among the country’s youth especially, and warnings of job cuts in the public service, can this deleterious culture of exchanging natives for foreign workers be allowed to continue?

Of course not! It will never lead to social harmony. And it must not be allowed to work. Charity begins at home, I remind the businesses who make these unfortunate assertions.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

13 Comments

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  1. Hmmm says:

    Igwe do you have or run a business? When you do, I would like to hear an update on this from you. BTW, I’m a BVIslander and one thing we don’t like around here is the hard truth.

  2. true says:

    Thank you Mr. Igwe. After what a certain businessman said in the media recently some people would think that all bvislander are lazy.
    The ones I grew up with were not lazy. Those I see sweat tirelessly for what they have acquired and accomplished cannot be called lazy.

    We do have disproportionate issues facing society which our leaders need to address. Perhaps it’s time to introduce a quota system, where 9nly X-amount of nationals from any given country outside the BVI would be grantd work permit at any given time. Young BVI Belongers are paralyzed bybthe social imbalance…they are treated like strangers in their homeland, while thenjoying strangers seem to be getting ahead with their own agenda

    Who don’t like to hear it can press the dislike button, but Truth is truth…we must accept it and deal with it for the future of these islands

  3. PATRIOT says:

    Charity begins at home: you disempower your people and then complain when everything goes south.

  4. true says:

    Now you have made your point now please read mine, I am an employer from the UK, married to a local. We advertise constantly for local staff but we received no replies. Now we employ all caribbean people as i’ the only white boy in the place, but trying to find a BVIslander to work in the service industry is very hard, not for the reasons of being lazy or unwilling but because they see the opportunity and open their own places.
    As of today after 2 months of looking the only applicants are from the UK, Philippines or India, but everyone crying there is no work, there is they just dont want the jobs at an entry level. I also pay the highest wages on island for the positions offered nothing falls below $10ph even my cleaners.

    • @ True says:

      Thank You Sir

    • Hmmmmmm says:

      Don’t see an issue with your comments. At least you asked for locals first and if none came then you hire others. Don’t see an issue with that and I am a 5th generation local. Some employers just don’t want locals period. When they are there they give them hell and frustrate them to the point they leave. So people like you do your part and others are just rotten to the core.

  5. To: true says:

    Please please please tell me which business are you so we can apply

  6. Billfargo says:

    In times past I have been critical about some of your writings, but this time you made my day and said exactly what need to be said, and just hope that some of those want-to-be leaders take a look.

    Good thing!

  7. Econonics says:

    There are plenty of talented and hard working Tolians. There are also a number of lazy youth within our society as there are in just about any society. What was said by one prominent businessman may not sit well with our families; however, business has a way of cutting to reality very quickly. If you are paying for workers with your own money, then you expect a certain quality of labor. If you don’t get it then you look elsewhere.

    It is inarguable that the BVI does not possess the necessary skilled and committed labour force to keep our economy going, hence the economic reason for imported labor whether from the Phillipines, down island or western society.

    While I appreciate the writers clarity that not all Virgin Islanders are lazy and feel entitled, the reality is that too many do fall in that category.

    I am confident that by raising my kids to work hard, learn, and have a good attitude that as Virgin Islanders it will lead to a prosperous future whether here or abroad. Good employees don’t seem to have a problem gaining or retaining employment regardless of where they are from and that is the simple reality of business.

  8. Sam the man says:

    The truth hurts… and I was bored reading this attempt to ridicule what a respected local business man bravely said – the fact is there is a real issue with lazy” and “entitled” BVI young people and the number of likes he received compared to yours suggests just that! to say otherwise is to refuse to wake up and smell the coffee…however lets be clear many locals are extremely hard working and are honorable, I bekieve its mainly an issue with the youth…

  9. true says:

    More Virgin Islanders need to step up to the plate and defend their country. Too often immigrant workers, and resident visitors, even strangers are having the most say in the business community. Everyone should have a say, but the Virgin Islanders whose future is at stake must become more proactive.
    For example, when last was a survey done to find out how the locals feel about being out numbered?
    How can there be harmony among all the groups?

    • Online Now says:

      More Virgin Islanders need to get up and help the islands recover. What are you waiting for, someone else to do it for you – that;s kind of laziness …

      Mr Igwe already lost my respect with his foul mouthed Facebook rant which showed he is not half as intelligent as he believes he is.

  10. itiswhatitis says:

    I would probably agree with most of your ideas if I were native, but I am not, I am a white discriminated continental resident of this lovely country for years now… The problem is that you, as native, will never be able to experiment the other side of the equation. I love BVI and I have many good local friends, I think the best of them, some of them are like brothers to me, and I also think the best of these beautiful islands that I call home, but trust me when I tell you that no matter how hard I try to become part of the community at the end I am always identified as a foreigner and treated like that. Probably you never feel this because everybody knows you and respect you as the prominent native citizen that you truly are, but try to put yourself on the other side of the street and you will understand. When I go to a restaurant with any of my local friends we are treated a lot better than when I go alone… There is a reverse racism in the BVI

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