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Flawed | Online petition launched against govt’s regularisation initiative

An online petition opposing one of the Andrew Fahie administration’s latest Immigration initiatives has been launched.

The petition, entitled ‘Regularization – Residency and Belonger Status’ was created by a group of locals that included outspoken resident, Cindy Rosan-Jones.

“We request that the amendments to the Immigration and Passport Act (Cap. 130), as they relate to the regularisation of residency and Belonger status, be withdrawn from the order paper for May 17, 2019, and an opportunity for Virgin Islanders and Belongers to be involved in this process,” they said.

The petitioners believe locals should have a say via public consultations on the matter before any further action is taken.

The group, which launched the petition recently, is hoping to get 1,000 signatures. Up to publication time, 80 signatures were already affixed to the petition.

‘Flawed and illegal’

The creators of the petition said there were several reasons behind their opposition to government’s regularisation policy.

“We wish to categorically oppose the flawed premises used to support your illegal move and express our disappointment in the process you have taken to blindside our people,” the petitioners said in a statement directed at the Fahie-led Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government.

“The Virgin Islands Party manifesto can be said to be a contract between the people and the government with an overwhelming majority in the House of Assembly. In it, on page 23, your government promised to establish an Immigration and Labour reform committee to ensure that our systems are fair but always putting BVIslanders and Belongers first.”

Contraction of VIP manifesto

The organisers of the petition further noted that the same position was outlined throughout the manifesto. However, they argued that the government’s actions in relation to the regularisation of expatriate residents contradict the contents of their manifesto.

“You have strategically left BVIslanders and Belongers out of the equation, and have failed to put us first in your priorities by starting this process without a comprehensive study on Immigration, or an Immigration and Labour reform committee, as you promised, nor have you consulted with Virgin Islanders,” the petition organisers said.

“Our people have a right to know, and a right to expect their representatives to act on their behalf on matters that concern them. Your government failed to come to the people of this territory about this regularization programme before your announcement on May 7, 2019, and there is no transparency in the process about how the decision for the regularisation came about,” they added.

Moral, constitutional, nat’l security factors

The organisers further indicated that no published Cabinet decision was made in relation to the new state of affairs. They also argued that there were moral, economic, legal, constitutional, and national security tiers to the issue.

“Our country already adds hundreds of residents and Belongers to its numbers every year. The strategy cannot be about increasing those numbers, but must be about ensuring that the right people with the best interest of our people and society at heart are awarded this privilege,” they argued.

The group also said if the government’s regularisation initiative is a means towards investment, a programme called Foreign Direct Investment would be a more effective approach.

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66 Comments

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  1. SMH says:

    Haters will hate

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    • Albion says:

      So far they have a grand total of nine signatures (including two people whose locations is indicated as being in the US).

      Leaders need courage to lead. I hope Fahie won’t be swayed.

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      • @Albion says:

        No dear, people are signing it. It is now at 98 and climbing.

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      • Matter not says:

        those signing could be in Hong Kong, as long as they are BVI islanders, it does not matter. Those applying for naturalization will not burn their Jamaica or St Vincent passports.

        There are lots of people everywhere who would like to return home and who have returned home and cannot get a chance.

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    • Hottie says:

      Lots of people from outside the BVI, especially Antigua and the US seem to be signing the petition. Not many names I recognise, and suspect that a few people are signing multiple times.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just worried there will be white voters next election. Let’s keep the BVI RACIST and APARTHEID. No need for inclusion of all people. No need for people from other land to become citizens after they have invested money and labor. Let’s leave the BVI for the corrupt Belongers who keep the imported workers as slaves and act as the national treasury is their piggy bank. BVI RACISM…..Nature’s little secret. 🤮

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    • This is a must read... says:

      Love this comment below:

      Simple Maths (16/05/2019, 13:07)
      I have drawn from both sides of the argument and can sympathise with all involved. What I don’t understand is why talking and reasoning about this matter isn’t the argument for both sides. 

The Expats are saying BVI people are unfair, etc. I don’t think that they are. I think they are uninformed and would like to know exactly how this will play out, after having time to make suggestions for how the process should be implemented. That’s democracy. Its their country. Why cant they have a say? Can they have a say in how other countries are run? The short answer is no. 

The further argument that BVI people have dual status – US/British. Why is that even an argument though? It’s mere geography, and a maintained relationship with the UK that cultivates that. Most countries in the Caribbean had a similar opportunity to be British, and all the advantages that that affords but chose independence. How could that be an argument here now? By voting for self-determination, these countries made it harder to position themselves to be able to travel to the USA and the UK and by default, their children are not born there. How is this the BVI fault?

As it relates to regularization. Should persons in the territory be regularized? Yes, I think so, but it should be done in a manner which compliments many factors including the economy, size of country, impact on social welfare and culture, etc. Time lived in BVI is also an important consideration, but not a right. Valuable contribution to society is a better yardstick to measure by and any status conferred is a privilege. For clarification, a right cannot be revoked. Immigration status conferred can be revoked if certain factors are present and is therefore a privilege. 

I have seen so many derogatory comments towards BVI people because they have spoken out about this matter. I am not from BVI and I think its interesting that expats say BVI people are prejudiced, wicked, etc but still live among and have children with them. If you are feeling disadvantaged, why stay? Why argue for what is not yours? I came here to experience something different and happen to love the place and the people I have met here. The day I feel anything like what is expressed in the blogs, is the day I decide to leave. I don’t understand why persons would complain, berate, curse a place and its people but be fighting to remain there. Something is very wrong with that.

I will end with I hope the government AND the people of the territory can find a happy medium. I also hope that expats and BVI people alike come together and TALK about this matter. Spewing negativity and beating each other up virtually makes no sense. At the end of the day, its their country and we, having decided to come here, have to understand and respect that. If we cannot, then its time to leave. Simple.

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  2. 4th District says:

    Let thy people go. Hon. Premier is no Moses but Moses like. There is no room for this petition and the government has a mandate from the voters to proceed to improve the economy of the country. Great initiative and compared to what the UK is proposing I agree with Premier 100%.

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  3. Hypocrisy says:

    I would like to know how many of those same people who mounting this petition or signing it have US Green Cards and US Citizenship and born them children in the US to give them US citizenship. Nonsense!

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    • Concern says:

      all i am saying bvi will always remain the minority because they all born there babies in the US n the Caribbean people babies all born here smart .so bvi girls start getting prego n born your babies in peebles

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      • Reply says:

        The same can be said for people in your country. Many of wish have ran to the great USA.

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      • Lilly says:

        It does not matter were we born our babies. They are automatically be given our status just like yours will get your St Vincent status.

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        • @lilly says:

          That’s not true you have to fill out a form a pay plenty. For example if you born at.kitts your children not when you try get BELONGERS you fill out a form and pay thousands of dollars to the government. Stop d*mn lying man. Even as and adult when want rights ie citizenship you have to give up your passport and renounce your nationality to your country(some places). No where not even England who so want badly for this form to go through.

          Think people this has nothing to do with EXPATS is has everything to do with England getting in….. The BVI last country on their list and because of our outdated policy they can’t step foot in and take over. EXPAT and BVISLANDERS alike please wake up before it’s too late there is a bigger got damn picture.

          As a bvislander I wished this more than anything because here is home to hundreds,but like do this one our terms not theirs. They money hungry else just want to set foot to feed off us. After BREXIT let do this.

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      • Oops says:

        Looks like the cousins go have to shack up again cause all some want is their personal pet from overseas to do whatever they please then toss them out like trash. These who’s gone to far off places to get their education and their picaninies oops spill the beans. Where from cometh a Jones or a Rosan??? From what farm or plantation??? Am certain these are indigenous names but are they???

    • @Hyprocrisy says:

      I would also like to know… how many people from your country have Green Cards and US Citizenships? Worry about the state of affairs in your own country not ours. If you lived there you would. Hypocrites!

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    • AND says:

      What does that have to do with the fact that they are concerned Virgin Islanders. Some of you wish you have US citizenship and could born your children there.

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    • Stupes says:

      It matters not. You will do the same if you have the opportunity.

  4. Michael Helm says:

    I am heartened that there are only 80 s8gnatures “to date”.
    I hope some more knowledge of Belonger / BVIslander history and it’s effect over the years on our Islands economy and welfare, will clarify the urgent need to welcome more people into our Island community as full citizens, with all the benefits to our community they bring with them.

    The reduction of the period of time required to able to apply for, first of all, residence and then British Overseas Territory citizenship from 20 years back to 15 years is long overdue.

    In the mid-1960’s the period for belonger status was 7 years, increased to 10 years after the 1973 Constitution when the concept of a BV Islander as a legal identity, not just an immigration term, was created.

    Everyone was a British Citizen up until the 1981 UK British Citizen act when the term British Overseas Citizen was created by Maggy Thatcher because of her racist fear of an influx of people flowing into the UK from Hong Kong when it returned to China in 1988.

    I can’t remember when or why the length of time was increased to 15 and then 20 years, maybe in the last constitution. The BVI has suffered because at least 75% of the non-Government workforce is indentured labour on work permits. They can’t have their family with them, they can’t put down roots, they can’t invest in our economy.
    We are a remittance economy

    As a result, at least 45% of all the wages earned since Irma have been remitted to “Home” We have exported a huge portion of our recovery money.
    We’ve been doing this through the last 30 to 40 years.
    look at how Cayman has developed in that same time. They have a viable economy. We are facing the collapse of ours because of the lack of internal investment during our better period.

    The BVI needs more people who can feel that this is HOME. I just hope that it’s not too late.

    Michael Helm, 53 years since Leavity invited me to come to live here permanently. I still thank him.

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    • Bystander says:

      What a perceptive and informed post; from the heart too! Congrats

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    • Amen says:

      All I can say is Amen. Mr. Helms you know what it feels like to be at home but somehow not quite welcome because of skin color, economic background, or whatever else may be termed as making you not fully a “BVIslander”. I know the feeling. But mature voices on this subject are very far and few in between. You comment is a welcome contribution to the discussion.

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    • Foxi says:

      Good for you. You are a good and honourable person Mr Helm, but we fear a number of crooks will be given citizenship without any due diligence. There are lots of people living in the BVI for 15 years and more and have no love for the BVI or its people.

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  5. Weir D. Playne says:

    I’m from here and I fully support the move by the Premier. Any person that has lived, went to primary school and worked in the BVI for at least 20 years should be welcomed with open arms. A lot of these people cherish the BVI way more than many BVIslanders.

    Many of the indigenous Virginislanders do not give birth at Peeble’s hospital. These hypocrites suck America dry for their privileges. The expats are the ones that run to Peebles despite having their children stuck in passport limbo for years. They stay in the BVI for the rest of the life while many of the BVIslanders goal is to live the American Dream. The long term expat residents have turned local landlords into rich men and women, contributed greatly to government’s revenue. They are patrons at our businesses. They are our friends, neighbors, spouses, coworkers etc. These people aren’t just here taking away from us, they in most cases do the jobs that we feel too proud or too beneath us to do.

    I encourage all those that meet the criteria set forth by the Premier to go and fill out your application by May 31, 2019 and we thank you for your contributions.

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    • OPEN THEIR EYESSS says:

      Sighhh…. well put!

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    • weirD.Playne says:

      I commend you for your comment you are one of the
      Locals who give jack the jacket and the dog the bone, I know there are good and kind hearted people still in the BVI

      THANK YOU GOOD LOOKING OUT.

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    • So What? says:

      So what if the Virgin Islanders does not give birth at Peebles, those children still have their daw gone rights. Why all of you keep stating that, we dont give a flying fish where they are born. Once they belong to a Virgin Islander, their roots and rights are here also and they have a right to claim it and will claim it. Who do you think our land and houses will go to.

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      • reader says:

        EXACTLY!!!!

        Now….you haven’t really said if you are for or against the regularization act but, let’s hope your sentiments can be applied to everyone else in the BVI expatriates included.

        Always remember to look at a situation from all angles before making a decision and speaking out.

    • Soooooo says:

      They run to peebles and you pay the bills. You mentioned 20 years but the new norm will be 15 years. It does not matter were a BVI belonger born their children. They will automatically be BVI belongers just like the Jamaicans or Antiguans children will inherit their rights. My cousins brag that they have three passports all the time and one happens to be a St Vincent passport because their father is from their. They have no d**n clue how St Vincent looks.

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  6. Problem says:

    The Premier is doing the right thing. The problem is the approach in which he is doing it. It is impossible for the thousands of applications to be processed properly in the time frame involved. Every person should be looked at carefully and evaluated accordingly.

    Why is this matter of huge importance being treated so hastily ? What is the sudden rush ?

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  7. Concern says:

    all i am saying bvi will always remain the minority because they all born there babies in the US n the Caribbean people babies all born here smart .so bvi girls start getting prego n born your babies in peebles

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  8. It says:

    ain’t for them. Tis for them people who never went to your schools, never will, but live on your island.

    Who don’t support your businesss, but live far away from you. Who don’t mingle with you, but talk horrible things about every day.

    A few of those people you spoke about W. D, Playne, may benefit, but it is felt that this legislation is being pushed by and paid for to benefit the palllid skinned deep eyed community, at the ultimate grevious consequences for the ;ocal and his status.

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    • :) says:

      Dont be an @$$ go by the police station and tell me how many “palllid skin” people you see.

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    • Fix you says:

      They are not Allowed in our schools. If only! If we had good schools and let them in, paying, perhaps the whole nation would be in a better place and also with less (but never none) need for immigrant workers!

      As it stands, this is very good for the BVI whether we normally support this man and his party or not. He has reasoned the position and alleged the concerns, which were often misplaced. We are in danger of losing people who have given their all to the BVI and stuck around when needed most and they may otherwise take their skills and their clients to another country that competes with us.
      Perhaps the next stage is to have a category of certificate of residence at ten years where those who remain and wish to work still need the permission from labour and pay a fee to get that permission ($1500 or some payroll tax add on % fee?).

      Then, with these people who are newly belonged or cert of residence, address stamp duty to make more revenue and economic activity. Cut from 4 to 3% for Belongers for property over 250k (free below), have certificate of residence folk pay 5% and keep the snowbirds and foreign investors at (10 or) 12%. This will kickstart the housing market and so many other shops and services here without having the huge influx of any outsiders that so many fear. It will raise millions in revenue to repair our schools and infrastructure too and keep the U.K. from our doors. There is no downside.

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  9. Reality Check says:

    @ Helm.. good write up but I disagree with you on this ” They can’t have their family with them, they can’t put down roots, they can’t invest in our economy”
    Most who apply for family to come are granted permission. Those who can afford to put down roots do so albieth costly. Many invest in the economy when they get the chance to. Many also depart foreign after they retire or get their US Alien Cards. . Yes all the things you said they “can’t do”, they do. I’ve seen over the years many nonbelongers purchase land and build homes then got immigration Residence or belonger status later. Many who will be granted Residence and belonger status will not be able to purchase land or other real property so the status is quo.

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    • hmm says:

      Not quite as i personally know a case where a lady who was here past 15 years was denied the opportunity to bring her child here though pure malice. Turned down over and over for years and the one time it was approved someone made a call to have the approval revoked. Horror stories like this one is what points out the issues. She still lives here today, made roots and all that but the effects of the past have ruined the relationship between her and her kids who couldnt understand at that time that she did all she could to bring them with her.

  10. Greg Hodge says:

    @weire d playne… you found someone defeatest. Expats do get their children in the US also so what are they sucking out of AmErika? What are you and them sucking out of Tortola? Suck you.

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    • Weir D. Playne says:

      I said what I said to make a specific point. How can you pretend to be a patriot, be against people that live here long term getting belonger status but flee to the United States to give birth so that they can get US Citizenship after spending a few nights in a US hospital. The hypocrisy is blinding.

      I myself would prefer at least 20 years being the standard but I know too many people living here for 20-30 years being treated like 2nd rate people when they are “Tolian” in every way except a last name.

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      • Frett says:

        Those living in the BVI for 20 and 30 years are responsible for submitting and checking on their applications. It is not for government to be out there making offers. Let the people do what the are required to do. Some become complacent and careless as well.

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    • hmm says:

      even if they do they do not apply for schlership and send their kids in USA for free education and collect food stamp like some of ayo. Um does Trumph knows how many of you all are working in the BVI snd not paying your taxes in the USA.

  11. US/St.Thomas says:

    They have their children in the US because once the child is born on US soil, they can get Food Stamps,WIC, Medicade, Section 8 and Cash Assistance twice a month. Ask most of the people in the BVI who children were born in the US to show you their EBT cards.

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    • ha ha ha says:

      You know the deal quite good . Did you pick up your WIC check and other benefits this months as yet?

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      • @Whatever your name is says:

        I happen to be a case worker at the Department of Social Services who process applicants for services some of whom have children that was born to mothers from the BVI. I was just explaining. Who ever you are, you need to stop making assumptions based on one’s comment. Don’t get angry and start throwing salt water shade. As for me,I am very well thank you. You go on and have a great day.

    • So What? says:

      So what if the Virgin Islanders does not give birth at Peebles, those children still have their daw gone rights. Why all of you keep stating that, we dont give a flying fish where they are born. Once they belong to a Virgin Islander, their roots and rights are here also and they have a right to claim it and will claim it. Who do you think our land and houses will go to.

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      • your says:

        Hmm your rights are in africa where you cane from even your name and last name not the peopke them name like smith and frett but Ashanti and afia etc.

    • Lies says:

      I have a son born in the US, but I have no clue what a EBT card is, so stop spreading lies. The US do their due diligence. if you live outside of the US you cannot get no damn food stamps. Unlike the BVI, things do not slip and if they do it will be for a little while and your a** will spend lots of time in jail for fraud.

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    • Well Well says:

      Stop tell lies. Unless you working and contributing in the US you cannot collect these things you write about. Stop trying to brainwash people

  12. We shall know them says:

    Out of the shadows they come. Enemies of progress who pretend to be our friends while standing on our heads and blocking our way to truly unite and live as one.

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  13. Truth says:

    He who has no sins he who is without cost the first stone,young bvi islander but i am ashame especially of person who I have known respected no wonder we the young one behaving like this no godly example what a shame, shaking my head , and these are person whom you will see in churches this Wednesday Sunday greeting you looking in your faces shaking hands singing preaching neighbour wooow wooow

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  14. The General says:

    It’s the kiss of death once something states that it has been organised by the n***y lady. I hark back to the meeting with the insurers, and then the RDA which failed at every step. Wherever next?

  15. Curious George says:

    Nationalism is always appropriate (i.e. BVI First, not BVI Only, but definitely BVI First). The problem in my opinion with the current discussions regarding status is the relative exclusion of any conversations regarding current citizenry. Call me naive but I still think the government is supposed to actually represent the citizens. As in the current citizens not perspective future citizens. Who vex about that I sorry but at the end of the day status is a right we give our children and privilege we might extend to our friends.

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  16. Truth says:

    The truth of the matter is that the Premier has far more locals that support him on this decision than against so he needs to proceed and get it done with. One thing we can appreciate with this Premier so far, whether you agree with his decisions or not, is that he has been a straight shooter and not wavering on anything unlike our last Premier. We need decisive persons not afraid to do what’s necessary to move the Territory forward. Not a VIP fan but they have been doing fairly decent so far, outside of the Speaker vs Vanterpool debacle. Regarding this issue, there’s no rationale to support frustrating persons who have been here contributing for 15, 20 years and more from becoming residents and later on, Belongers, if they so qualify.

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  17. Hanna says:

    From the hateful comments on the petition it’s clear that some of you despise the Caribbean brothers and sisters. So much for being a Christian community. I wonder, why do you employ down island people if you dislike them so much? Oh, I forget, you can’t get an indigenous to work like an a**.

    They call you” thrushies” but you work for them and help their businesses grow.
    What do you expect us to do with our money when we don’t feel accepted in your country?

    I’m telling you’ll “thrushies” know which mango you are picking cause some rotten AF. Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    POWER TO FAHIE!!!!!

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  18. Serasalt says:

    Cindy charity begins at home. You are not indigenous to begin with and fighting the same people that you are a part of. Remember one of your parents is from Guadeloupe. Think over your position and see if you are really being objective.

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  19. reader says:

    EXACTLY!!!!

    Now….you haven’t really said if you are for or against the regularization act but, let’s hope your sentiments can be applied to everyone else in the BVI expatriates included.

    Always remember to look at a situation from all angles before making a decision and speaking out.

  20. island man says:

    The expat can start their own petition too. 😀

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  21. Sam says:

    Interesting and ironic conversations going on. Funny how BVI really keen to have none BVI , expat of shore companies here (I bet there’s not one local owner financial company that has any significant turnover ) but don’t want the people to come with it who facility the industry..
    oh stop press just found a few local companies with big turnover owned by CSK, funny though can’t find what they actually do.

  22. Farmer says:

    Those expat companies you are referring to are only registered in the BVI. They do not carry on business in the BVI, so the owners have no problems staying where the companies operate. They are not looking status.

  23. Proud BVIslander says:

    It is sad when the citizens of a country cannot express their views on decisions that will affect them.
    My questions are –
    1. Why be so mean spirited when BVIslanders speak?
    2. Why hate us because we have a bit more than you?
    3. Can you in all clear conscience want to live among a people that you hate?
    4. Have we denied you the right to send home your earnings and build up your country?
    This hatred reminds me of why we as a people were chosen to live in these beautiful isles. We were not warlike, agressive etc.

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  24. Die Hard BVISLANDER says:

    I don’t have anything against by Caribbean brothers and Sisters but I don’t not support this. There is no rush and Mr. Premier better realize that born BVISLANDERS are paying close attention …Very close attention ..We voted for the VIP, many of us but four years will go buy quickly. Wait and see

  25. Andrew is the MAN! says:

    This is so appalling and sad.Some people really lacks humanity.A belonger was saying that he is SAD because expats are happy. Really? Keep showing your true colors. God placed Mr Andrew Fahie to lead! LET THE MAN LEAD! Look how much he has done so far and is still doing….new roads, clearing all junk from the road sides etc. A lot of BVI belongers are kind spirited only the shallow ones are being selfish. God bless you Mr.Fahie.

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