BVI News

Former Labour Minister berates ‘trade license hoarders’


Former Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley has castigated persons he termed as “trade license hoarders“ for accumulating trade licenses with no apparent purpose in mind.

Wheatley’s comments were made in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently as legislators debated the Business Licensing, Act 2020 that has now passed.

While making reference to a clause in the new legislation which says a license can be revoked if not activated within 90 days, the former minister said he suspected what the origin of that clause might be.

“I call them trade license hoarders. There are a lot of persons with 15, 20, 25 trade licenses but only may be one active,” Wheatley said.

He noted that those trade license holders often don’t pay for their licenses on an annual basis, as required.

“Only for some reason they may need that license, at that point in time, then they go to activate the license and maybe at that point they may pay the back fees,” he explained.

“I think if you’re going to be a trade license hoarder, it should cost you something – this is kind of a bit far if you ask me – but persons shouldn’t be allowed to have trade license to say they have them,“ Wheatley stated.

Wheatley said these persons often brag about the amount of trade licenses they have, but when checks are made they are only active in a book or on paper.

According to the former minister, attempts were made to address this issue in the past, but these faced ‘tremendous resistance’ and were ultimately pulled back.

“Some persons just don’t intend to do good business, or sometimes they simply can’t afford to do good business. Well, if you can’t afford to be in business, doing good business, then maybe you should be doing something else,“ he argued.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t?

In the meantime, Opposition Leader Julian Fraser offered some pushback on the term ‘trade license hoarders’.

Fraser suggested that the concept of multiple trade licenses emerged after changes were made to the law, forcing persons to acquire multiple licenses when they weren’t needed previously.

“That became a part of the culture of the Virgin Islands,“ Fraser said. “And it still exists to some extent. Right now, as we speak, it still exists.”

He offered the example of a person doing a trucking business that may end up with five trade licenses for doing construction, water delivery and other businesses.

According to Fraser, persons were damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

“I’m hearing now, where there are some people who are advocating that you refer to those people as ‘hoarders’ of trade licenses. But that’s the cost of doing business,” the Opposition Leader argued.

He continued: “I couldn’t do all the things I was doing if the law you impose on me was not accessible to me; which is I have to get five trade licenses.”


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  1. keep him in power says:

    Fraser is a fighter for the people

    Like 10
    Dislike 10
    • Hoarders?! says:

      Doesn’t Vincent have a business? He MUST know that often times you go for one license and you are told that you must have three licenses just to have one small business. So you swallow your spit and pay for three.

      Thats the reality.

      Like 23
      Dislike 1
  2. Jack says:

    He need to go sit down can’t wait to vote him out

    Like 22
    Dislike 2
  3. in your face says:

    thanks, Fraser for standing up for the silent majority, who knows it is as you voice it. I hope others see how the law can be manipulated in the wrong way if you don’t understand how things are done or addressed.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  4. Only here says:

    Well if they don’t pay the annual fee for their licenses as requires, why isn’t the license simply canceled? And, why wouldn’t we enforce that? If you’re running a business without a trade license, face fines.

    Like 22
    Dislike 1
    • @only here says:

      It really could be that simple. Give people a 90 day grace period to renew, send them two reminder notices during that time. Then if unpaid after 90 days cancel the license. To reactivate requires a new application same as if starting from day one. SIMPLE. If you cant be responsible enough to maintain a trade license how can you be trusted to run a business?

      Like 11
      Dislike 1
  5. Thoughts... says:

    This is what happens when you have elected officials in power who do not understand the way in which the “system” was designed v. the way in which the “system” runs. But chooses to inflict unnecessary laws and punishment on the business community who are just trying to adhere to your coock-a-mamy laws in the first place. IGNORANCE!!!! Do some research.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  6. Wow says:

    When you lost your seat before election and feeling salty

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  7. advice says:

    Anything you need to do ,get a trade license, thats why one man get licenses. and yearly he still have to pay for the 20. of them,still more money spend.

  8. Haha says:

    This joker resurrect. We still not accepting you on the opposition benches so fugetaboutit.

  9. VG says:

    U got some nerve miboi.Look at so call guard rail painters who U give the contract to a man who have maybe forty micenses ur ,family who don’t pay taxes.U need to sitthef**k down Vincent
    U Screw up labor now u here talking pi**

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  10. vw says:

    This joker is bitter. Dreams killer . You were an abuser,a disgrace as a minister. Bench to the back and shut up. No one wants to listen to you.

    Like 12
  11. Cgb man says:

    Come off the news sites your no longer relevant.

  12. Choops says:

    Respectfully, I really don’t care to hear anything Mr. Vincent Wheatley has to say. Especially given the mess he’s created with labour and immigration departments.

    Like 11


  14. Ning says:

    I suggest that those who are interested in doing GOOD business in the BVI educate themselves about the trade laws and how they were created to work. If you apply for a trade license the trade department grants it to you with the understanding that you will be operating a business with in a reasonable amount of time after receiving it. The law says that the license is to be paid annually and if not paid by January 31st of each year a late fee for each month not paid is added to the renewal fee regardless if the business is operational or not. If the trade license is issued as a DBA (Doing Business As) on issuance that license should be registered with Inland Revenue, Social Security and NHI once registered with these three departments the named doing business as person should then pay monthly notional remuneration fees along with the fees for any employees the business may have. My understanding is the only way to avoid this payment would be to write the departments associated with the license and ask for a suspension of the business. Now the question is, those persons who are fronting trade licenses for others, is that notional remuneration being paid in to the departments for them? If the license is acquired as a company then different laws apply. Having hundreds of inactive trade licenses interferes with our trade statistics because we are using licenses registered and not licenses operational. So when you are denied a license because you are told we have too many of that kind of business already, it does not mean that they are all operational so someone who could run a good and better business may be left out in the cold because they are too many already registered but not operational.
    Hon. Fraser is correct when he said that multiple trade licenses came about after changes in the law but you should also understand why the laws were changed. The reason was because in many cases the licenses were being abused where you might have applied for a dive tour operation but wanted to also run a dive giftshop and day charter business on the same trade license.
    It is quite interesting that some here have chosen to put blame on Mr. Wheatley for doing what the COI has accused the country of not doing which is following and enforcing its laws. The Labour and Immigration issues were there long before this government and compounded by hurricane Irma and Covid 19 pandemic, created mostly by employers who in all reality were/are bankrupt but still responsible for and accountable to their employees. The Good Standing Certificates are not going away you WILL have to provide proof that you are compliant to operate and do business in the BVI. Instead of listening to others with their own agendas and placing blame where it does not belong don’t wait until the laws are enforced to educate yourself BE PREPARED for what is coming.

  15. Joke says:

    Trade licences are totally stupid. The whole system is only there to collect money. The forms are childish and inadequate and the categories are none sensical.
    Simply scrap them and levy corporate tax on business turnover like sensible countries

  16. Lala says:

    This man nedds to go sit down. Im tured of hearing his macavelious opinion. That aint the same man had immigration and laboir run to the ground. Please s
    Go sit down.

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