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Discussion needed to balance concerns on issuing Belongership

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has insisted that discussions are needed to address concerns about issuing Belongership status in the territory.

The Premier was asked at a recent press conference about possible changes to the government’s policy on Belongership. This policy encourages persons to only apply for such status once they have met a residency requirement of 20 years even though the law says that they can apply after 10 years of residency.

“We have to have a national conversation in my view—one which I will lead as Minister of Immigration. A national conversation of what we want the Virgin Islands to look like moving into the future,” Premier Wheatley said.

Premier Wheatley noted that the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report calls for a review by a senior public servant of the current law on Belongership in place and said he is hopeful that that review can start very quickly so that the people of the Virgin Islands can have their say.

Policy never in synced with law

According to the Premier, the challenge with the policy which has been enforced in recent years is that it didn’t match the law.

“Well, I mean, what we’ve said is that the law has to be enforced and that means just what it means. So, if the law states 10 years, that’s what has to be enforced until the laws change or our policy has changed,” Dr Wheatley stated.

He added: “So, if we wanted, for instance, persons to be able to apply after 20 years, what we should have done was amend the law to reflect that. That was not done. So, the current law, as it states, says 10 years, and that’s what has to be enforced until such time whether there’s a change, okay.”

In the meantime, the Premier said the BVI has had persons who have come here from various places and have made wonderful contributions to the territory.

“We also have persons who have ancestry here going back hundreds of years, who certainly have their views and their concerns,” he added.

The goal for officials, he said, is to be able to balance those concerns and realities by the various stakeholder groups and come up with something that can best serve the Virgin Islands as a whole moving into the future.

Healing needed

“I would have to say it’s going to be something that’s difficult because I think up until this point we haven’t properly managed even sentiment as it relates to immigration,” the Premier noted.

“There are examples of I would say xenophobia; examples of insensitivity among various groups; lots of different examples of, in my view, what the wrong thing is. And there’s a lot of healing that has to take place and some frank and honest conversations which have to take place.”

The Premier said he hopes that as a society, persons are mature enough to have those conversations without being at each other’s throats. He further called the issue a “very emotive and divisive” one.

“I’m asking that we have the conversation in a respectful manner that reflects our Christian and religious values. If you’re not a Christian, [please speak in a way] that reflects our humanitarian instincts and reflects our respect for various groups of people around the world. So that’s what I would hope for,” he added.

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55 Comments

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  1. Reparations says:

    should be also be paid to all residents of 10+ years that have not yet become belongers. This payment by government to all the applicants would be compensation for all the years they paid for work permits, entry permits, increased trade license fees, increased property taxes, etc. not to mention all the elections in the last 40 years they were forbidden to vote.

    If the 10 year law for this status had been enforced the BVI might have been a totally different country than it is now with direct UK rule hanging overhead and a disgraced premier under house arrest in Miami for drug smuggling offences.

    Like 32
    Dislike 3
    • @Reparations says:

      Deducted from their reparations ,in fairness and accountability,
      , should be
      cost to the VI for court costs and boarding in Balsum ,some
      for a lifetime for their countrymen and their children and also the deterioration of the quality of education and quality of life in the VI.. The VI is on the losing end of the local immigration saga.

      Like 1
      Dislike 14
    • The TRUTH says:

      Must be out your rabid mind.

      Like 5
      Dislike 3
    • Norris Turnbull says:

      @Reparations and all who think like your ingrate a**. You made a free choice to accept employment in the Virgin Islands. No one forced you to come. You probably quit a job to do so. What fu**kin Reparations you are talking about? You need to shut up.

  2. hmm says:

    are there any persons remaining to get belonger?
    with all the hundreds that get already I doubt much ppl remaining.

    Like 2
    Dislike 21
    • Maybe not much says:

      But yet still they have to have lines in immigration before they get. because whoever holds these applications is forwarding the ones she ‘knows’ to the board and not all completed applications received.

  3. reparation my foot says:

    the law need to be change immediately. the indigenous people don’t have a say in their own country that their foreparents fought for.go and fight your government in your country for all you asking for.no ten yr law for belonger status can work in this small island it just cannot.i always say it is our intention as expatriate to take over this country and it is happening. it is happening because we elected people in office to help them achieve such.our elected representatives afraid to get up and say something meaningful for its indigenous people because their wife’s or husband is going to be offended. bvi landers you are doomed. yes we paid taxes and contributed and continue to do so but we were also compensated for our work. indigenous bvi landers fight for what your foreparents leave for you.

    Like 10
    Dislike 25
    • Lmfao says:

      There is no one in the BVI that is “indigenous” to the land. The Blacks are squatters on the Queens Land. The Blacks have turned a beautiful spot i. The Caribbean into a junk yard of rusted cars, burned out boats and a mountain full of trash. It’s amazing that these people think they should have more rights than any others. Do away with Belongership, anyone with a UK passport is automatically a citizen and can vote. All others get Residence status after 5 years and citizenship after 7. BVI=APARTHEID!!!

      Like 30
      Dislike 12
      • @Lmfao says:

        It’s People like You that makes Others Bitter with your retrospective. Instead of researching and understanding history you trying to be comical. SMDH

        Like 5
        Dislike 10
      • @Lmfao says:

        The “word” game won’t change what is fair and just and the justified sentiments attached.
        It simply acknowledges those whose dark hearts and minds are contributors to their limbo and uncertainty in a world of divine gifts given to Hu nanity.
        Their condition will forever remain no matter what and wherever.

        Like 2
        Dislike 1
      • CSeaBee says:

        Are you effing kidding?!?
        You sound like a Non)Christian white Nationalist spouting hatred.
        BVIslanders are not “squatters” on the Queens land. They inherited these islands by the cruel Inhumane Legacy of slavery,
        and have a history of centuries of hard work to make a life here.
        Have you seen the mural, or the many paintings by local artists that depict scenes of life here before all we expats came? It shows a rich history of farming and fishing and working hard to make a living on this land and a rich shared Community life.
        Open your heart and mind.

    • Indigenous??? says:

      There no indigenous people in the BVI – stop talking nonsense.

      Like 29
      Dislike 4
    • @ reparation my foot says:

      I AM IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH YOUR VIEWS. WHEN THE INDIGENOUS VIRGIN ISLANDERS SPEAK UP, THEY ARE DEEMED TO BE IGNORANT AND DISCRIMINATORY TOWARDS EXPATRIATES. THE TERRITORY IS TO SMALL FOR IMMIGRANTS TO COME AND MAKE DEMANDS, INSULT OUR PEOPLE, YET TAKE WHATEVER INCOME THEY CAN GET TO DIVERT OR SEND BACK TO AND BUULD UP THEIR HOME( PLACE OF BIRTH)COUNTRY’S ECONOMY. THESE SAME NOISE MAKERS CANNOT GO ELSEWHERE AND VOICE THESE RANDOM DEMANDS MUCHLESS BE LUCKY TO GAIN SUCH PRIVILEGE AS TO LIVING AND WORKING IN THE BVI. THEY NEED TO STOP THIS DARN NONSENSE. NOPE! THEY ARE NOT GOING TO RUN AND CONTROL THIS TERRITORY, NO WAY JOSE’.THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS DON’T OWE ANY EXPATRIATE OR IMMIGRANT WHO FEELS IT’S THEIR ENTITLEMENT A DARN THING. CALL ME IGNORANT I DON’T GIVE A DARN! I AM TIRED AND FED UP OF YOU PEOPLE( FOOLISH ONES) THINKING YOU GOING OVERTHROW BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDERS. REEL AND COME AGAIN! WE WILL FIGHT( LEGALLY, VERBALLY, DILIGENTLY AND MIND YUH PHYSICALLY TO KEEP WHAT IS OURS. YOU’LL FULL OF CRAP( TOO PUT IT MILDLY)

      Like 10
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    • Secret Bear says:

      Using the term “indigenous” to refer to BVIslanders descended from Africans is offensive to actual indigenous people around the Caribbean, such as the Kalinagos and Garifuna, about whom you know and care nothing.

      Like 17
      Dislike 1
      • @Secret says:

        Offensive? Go tell that to all the dead taino’s our forefathers found buried in the ground after the Europeans genocidal murdering spree! If there were one or two left they are in our blood line!

    • Hush says:

      you indigenous to america. so hush

    • hmm says:

      Arawaks were the indigenous ones here, there are still remaining items to show that they were here before anyone else. also the Europeans were here after the Arawaks that is how they know about the island to bring people here.

  4. Redstorm says:

    It is good dialogue that create better understanding. People from all walks f life use know that God is n control. Immigration has its purpose to police the kind f activities that will ensure a healthy environment, at at the same time has to make money, work permit time, day trippers, sponsored people, status fees etc. are all areas that expat contribute to as they are the ones using this service.

    I am not sure if the HOA give a report of the amount of money gain with the fast track status. In the quickness of time many people rush to get their applications in the office. This indicates that such quickness people had the money and they did apply, compare to waiting many long years. I would suggest for those person who are here with there families and has apply they should be granted the opportunity. Those who are coming they should be given a time period.

  5. when? says:

    when can we apply? i was only hoping for exemption after working 10 years, boom they changed it to 15years. i said ok 5 years more.. i wait till 15 years .. lol them Mud#$ SK&%( change it to 20 years.. stop treat people like Sh*6!

    Like 20
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    • @ when says:

      Is your country at war?
      Has the beaches,rivers,sunshine,gold,fertile soil and othe resources disappeared.
      Consider that abandoning your resource filled country to be treated likeSh*t in a dryweather tiny country, and feeling entitled to what little they have is a good reason to be treated with disdain by the unwilling host country on which you have imposed your unwanted lengthy presence..

      Like 5
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    • hmmm says:

      and when you reach 20 years they put a halt to the process

  6. no one says:

    no one should be given any status base on yrs in any country. many other things should come into play .a person lives here for 30 yrs and 20 out of that 30 he or she been a nuisance to society and this person should be given status to continue being a nuisance??the law needs to be changed but first see what your people the bvi landers want for their country.

    Like 5
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    • Secret Bear says:

      What do you think they are they using those police reports and reference letters for? Toilet paper?

      • @ Secret Bear says:

        Seems that way.
        The Caribbean Islands with the world’s record amount of crimes are the ones who have the biggest stream of immigrants in the VI. In addition they and their children occupying the most cells in our overcrowded prison and the Courts daily ledger.

        If police and other stats are considered in granting entry to the Vi,how do we account for this …or perhaps there is a deliberate effort in granting entry to our shore en masse to potential criminals.

        Like 1
        Dislike 2
    • Taxpayer says:

      @no one: you are right, belongership should only be given to friends who are here even less than 10 years( check the record , you could find hundreds of them), back door immigrants and criminals, but not those who contributed to this country

      Like 3
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  7. Harvey says:

    The reality of contributions made to the VI by immigrants as a whole,specifically and predictably needs to be examined and adjustments made which enhances the betterment of the Country is urgent and necessary. We have plenty data to support such an examination.
    That identifiable imported demographic group that is overwhelmingly responsible for the burgeoning prison population,massive international police force,and its threat to our economy abd quality of life,for our survival, should be curtailed suspended or preferably eliminated from becoming an addition to our population ,temporary or otherwise.
    For starters the VI could not afford the cost of VI as a police island if we were to become independent.

    • @harvey says:

      the other countries that gain independence were they able to afford the cost?? you does read some crap sometimes

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
      • @ when says:

        Is your country at war?
        Has the beaches,rivers,sunshine,gold,fertile soil and othe resources disappeared.
        Consider that abandoning your resource filled country to be treated likeSh*t in a dryweather tiny country, and feeling entitled to what little they have is a good reason to be treated with disdain by the unwilling host country on which you have imposed your unwanted lengthy presence..

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
      • @@Harvey says:

        Hmmmm…
        Well they can’t afford their daily bread,food and shelter, that we know.

      • @ Secret Bear says:

        Seems that way.
        The Caribbean Islands with the world’s record amount of crimes are the ones who have the biggest stream of immigrants in the VI. In addition they and their children occupying the most cells in our overcrowded prison and the Courts daily ledger.

        If police and other stats are considered in granting entry to the Vi,how do we account for this …or perhaps there is a deliberate effort in granting entry to our shore en masse to potential criminals.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
      • To Harvey says:

        Yes but at the expense of food and shelter for its people..it is laudable to preserve ones culture, however when crime is a defining part of a culture,most would agree it would contribute to lack of a country’s economic growth and survival.

  8. sacred says:

    BELONGER STATUS is the most sacred of all things given to expatriate and it should not be given out easily and to Tom dick and Harry black white or brown.we are going about this as a simple work permit.what needs to happen at this time is that all work permit including renewals should have a time limit and when the time limit has ended you know you must leave the territory for a period of time.we came here to seek employment I didn’t know it’s the people country we really came to take over.we expatriate is causing serious poverty to take over this place.yes I said that.example we work in a supermarket or other businesses that pays minimum wage.we get to retirement age that we to old for anyone to employ us but we still live in a 9 or 1200 dollars apt.the social security benefits we will be getting cannot pay the bills so we look towards the government to help.these same people are belongers and can’t afford to live in the bvi.what is going to happen?? when the pandemic started many of the people if that most seeking assistance was expatriate. they were seeking money to pay rent and some to buy food.this is a fact.so there’s the problem because many of these expatriates hardly had a job so they couldn’t pay the social security and nhi well don’t talk about income tax because so many never ever make over $10 000 on record because many of us find ways and means to beat the systems. this cannot be a free for all country anymore. limit work permit.my other question is who are we developing the bvi for?? surely not its people. put laws in place now that would last decades to come.

    Like 3
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    • Crazy Joe says:

      And how would that affect investment.? Look around, most of the businesses that keep the BVI prosperous were founded by immigrants. Even big businesses now owned by belongers.

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
  9. @Lmfao says:

    The “word” game won’t change what is fair and just and the justified sentiments attached.
    It simply acknowledges those whose dark hearts and minds are contributors to their limbo and uncertainty in a world of divine gifts given to Hu nanity.
    Their condition will forever remain no matter what and wherever.

  10. kih says:

    @ reparation my foot, I wish I can give you a million likes.

  11. @@Harvey says:

    Hmmmm…
    Well they can’t afford their daily bread,food and shelter, that we know.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  12. 3rd and 4th Generation applicants says:

    What about the elephants in the room who are 3rd and 4th Generation BVIslanders? Everyone only looks at this from one side but what about our children and grandchildren – shouldn’t they be given a chance too? We have significant brain drain in this country and we will not progress if we do not welcome our generations back home to rebuild!

    • 3rd and 4th gen says:

      All done come and get. and they are still americans. what else you want? they chose a life away from here. All tehy would come to do is become a burden on society and sell your land and go back. or bring more guns and cocaine.

  13. Big Richard says:

    Belonger status scheme == Discrimination

  14. Rainier says:

    The Monaco Model is an ideal solution.
    No poverty as a result.
    Fairness for all .
    Generational wealth preserved.

  15. @Crazy Joe says:

    The Monaco Model solves this issue.
    An ideal solution for the VI.

  16. COLONIAL MENTALITY says:

    To kill steal and destroy.

  17. Well well says:

    If is one thing that going make England take back them place is that belongers status. Causes theses wicked people still have the guts to say in public they going have a disscussion. Listen wickedness is real. Trust me. Its real as day. No no. Imagine well d bvi dont belongs to no ond but d Queen alu goin lose it.. just because of status. Theses black women and men lives here and contribjted what os there to disscuss no sah.

    Like 1
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  18. Child says:

    Slowande. Theses people you all going go disscuss is my parents living here for over 20 yrs wth and u all want my votes. Remember. We can vote i owen my own pastport and my sibilings. Alu aint getting none of our votes. Imagine u goin to disscuss someone living here for over 20yrd plus even 15 yrs thats f up man. Think before u talk. We d younf generatioms watching we are not thoses activists we are in bigger njmbers than them we are the new generations. Only mothers and fathers are not from here but we have a say. Ok.

  19. @child says:

    There is an awareness
    The prison and courts,schools,FSN…yep there is an awareness that you and others are and will be.
    That is the big Problem in the VI.

  20. Feeling sorry says:

    After person live their country come here and work to build up this country which they live in and have grown to love. you all feel a way when they ask for belongership when you Bvi landers live and go America make you guys kids and come back (because of the benefits for that child) Lord help us ..The vi really sweet

    You all so move to America after couples you guys get all you paper.So what difference in this you Bvi landers want American citizenship you don’t hear the American people complaining

    You are saying they can’t pay their rent why don’t you guys ask the bank why you all mortgages are so high as result renting apartments are so high.
    And everyone what’s to rent fully or semi furnished apartments

    Secondly no is talking about price controll in the groceries store every minute price are going up

    But no one is saying salaries should be increased
    Some of the employers are not evening paying the contributions to social security and NHI and they are removing the religiously from their their money

    I understand that labour and immigration brings in revenue for the country but sorry to say it’s a money making business

  21. Road Town Rebel says:

    Stupid comment Child, just stipid.

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