BVI News

‘Concerns’ raised about number of trade licences issued for car rentals, salons

Trade Director, Karia Christopher

The Department of Trade said it is concerned about the considerable number of trade licences it is being made to issue for businesses such as car rentals and beauty salons.

Director of Trade and Investment Promotions Karia Christopher made the comment during the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) deliberations in April 2019.

The director was responding to an observation made by Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley who said he had noticed a concentration of similar businesses operating in close proximity to each other.

Christopher said this was due to what she described as an “unwritten rule” which allows any BVIslanders or Belongers to acquire a trade licence in any field of their choosing, at any time.

“She added that, in most cases, the persons are BVIslanders and the [Trade] department has been concerned about the number of trade licenses that have been approved for car rentals, beauty salons, etcetera. However, until the Premier of the day says otherwise, the department cannot make a decision on its own,” the 2019 SFC report said.

Christopher, however, noted the contrasting difference in procedures non-belongers must go through to acquire a similar trade licence. The procedure starts with them having to provide documents including a police report, two references (bank and personal), a cover letter, valid passport from their country of origin, and a passport picture.

Director Christopher further said that once the listed documents are presented, the files are processed within her department. She, however, said her department does not make the final decision on issuing non-belonger trade licences without the approval of the Premier or the Junior Minister for Trade.

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33 Comments

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  1. Looking On says:

    People got to eat and pay bills. Let the best man win. Is that really a concern? If so, please fully explain … non-diversification or concentration of trades. If that is the case, why not provide annual statistics on these and distribute to the public including the schools (so that long before a particular trade or course is taken by a student then they can determine a least-concentrated trade beforehand)

    Like 33
    • Voter says:

      That policy should be continued and I might add that the Department should come up with a list of businesses reserved for B V Islanders or Belongers. I don’t see why they have to compete with expatriates in some fields with taxi service, beauty salons etc..

      Like 7
      Dislike 10
      • Racist says:

        That’s right. Reinforce racism in the BVI. Let’s keep businesses for Belongers only and hire expat slaves to do the work. You are really a doomed people. Can’t wait for your extinction

        Like 19
        Dislike 13
        • #Racist says:

          Everyone, except the vocally challenged, speaks through the mouth.

          However, that does not make what it is spoken or written factual, correct or even sensible. That contribution is a poignant example.

          Racism is the discrmination of one race against another based solely on the affliation of one’s race to another.

          Further, racism has no comparison to regionality.

          Last, our brothers and sisters from other Caribbean regions are racially identical to us and with the same racial heritage. How then can that be racism one ask?

          Like 7
          Dislike 5
    • hit the nail on the head says:

      I second the motion “Looking On”. The trade department need to have a quarterly news letter on the state of the economy from trade point of view and to include stats of new trade licences, renewals, business closures, etc. We need to know how things are in the BVI. We simply do not know!

      Like 17
    • Ha says:

      It the Trade Dept issued more trade licenses, we would have more competition, cheaper prices and better service.
      Let in ATT and Pueblo

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  2. Hmmm says:

    Yep. That’s how we do it in Nature’s Little Secrets.
    Once u from here u have free reign to do what u want whether it’s good or bad.
    Until that mindset is changed, we will continue to look like a 3rd world country.

    Like 22
    Dislike 11
    • Watcher says:

      Go to St.Thomas and ask for a trade license and see if you’re not back here on the noon boat. There is no country where expats receive the same privilege as locals.
      Too many people that come here are being spoiled by our government’s lax policies. If it isn’t being fast tracked or getting trade licenses it will be something else. Some will never be satisfied.

      Like 17
      Dislike 10
    • Wake up says:

      You are a 4th world country.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  3. Vip heckler says:

    Blame all this on the politicians

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  4. copy cats says:

    The BVI is a monkey see monkey do kinda place….People sit back and copy/mimic all the businesses that do good….Results, the markets flooded

    Like 34
    Dislike 2
  5. local says:

    It is so sad how many non-belongers have trade licence and the hell you guys are given a local..

    Like 7
    Dislike 15
  6. HOT AIR says:

    This aint the same lady after the Hurricanes said we need more salon. ???

    Like 30
  7. Joker says:

    What is the matter, K. People have to drive around and look pretty.

    Like 11
  8. Gordaguy2 says:

    You shouldn’t restrict the numbers of businesses in certain fields – let the market do that – people will go to high quality, in expensive and just in time kinds of business – the question one should ask is what kinds of businesses would you like to see (for example grocery stores to compete on price) and then figure out who could run them and what kind of supply chain would allow them to be successful.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  9. Yep says:

    Probably because a lot of them are laundering drug money !

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
  10. Ausar says:

    What I find disturbing, is that the same rush to limit hair salons and car rentals are not similarly applied to other areas of trade such as non-belonger owned law firms, jewelry stores,realtors and taxi drivers!

    If we are truly about preserving the homeland for belongers; those at home andd abroad, then it is imperative that ALL aspects of trade licences be scrutinized to ensure the viability and continuity of Virgin Islander- owned businesses!

    Like 4
    Dislike 10
    • The General says:

      Don’t think there are bundles of non-belonger law firms, jewelery stores, realtors and taxi drivers winning new trade licenses, unless they do so through the “local partner” system. The ones who don’t have this are businesses which have backed the BVI over time and should be thanked for their continued investment in the community.

      I wouldn’t know, but perhaps the local partners should be scrutinised more (eg how many fingers do people have to put in separate pies at the same time).

  11. why says:

    Why is this a concern? Needs more explanation

  12. Peaches says:

    What about a person having a trade license for one location, but using it in another location. Is that legal?

  13. My my says:

    I don’t know why educated ppl like u guys think so small ,what if business end up beside each other everything is a problem to u guys and that’s not ur problem the problem is that the person pay taxes .that person must figure out if the business is profitable for them or not my god man u guys are acting like ur tuning a school.

  14. hmm says:

    This should have never been brought to the news. If there are too many licences in any one industry its because Trade hasn’t been doing its job to regulate. Some persons might think that its ok for an unlimited number of persons to have a license in the same thing but those same people complain and can’t understand why they still struggling. This isn’t the USA with millions of people – its the BVI with a drip in the bucket when compared. The excess businesses doing the same thing can’t even afford to give top notch service because they aren’t making enough money too.

    • hmm says:

      In a small country like this too much competition is not good. No one company will ever make enough money to say they are truly successful.

    • Gordaguy2 says:

      Trade shouldn’t be regulating the number of licences – let the market do that – if there are 10 hair dressers next to each other – you will quickly find out which are good and which not so good. People vote with the feet – what concerns me is that there aren’t sufficient entrepreneurship programs around to get some higher value businesses started – how about some web designers or surveying engineers or accountants that are good and independent of the major accounting firms.

  15. OZYMANDIAS King of Kings says:

    Boss woman! How am I suppose to launder my cash woman? It is my RIGHT as a BVIlander to have the ability to clean my money.

    Like 1
    Dislike 2

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